JASON

The next morning a banging door woke me up suddenly. I stared up at my bedroom ceiling as the memory of last night flooded my mind. I tried to convince myself it was an elaborate dream but a sick feeling in my stomach told me that everything that I remembered had happened.

What could I have done? Going into it I knew it was a risk, but I never imagined something like that would happen to me. T' had laughed derisively when I told him I was considering meeting someone I had met on "".

"You do know BBW is full of busted and-or DL men that want to do the freaky ish their wives won't let them do, right?"

T' is the sort of person I go to for advice for anything. His night-time job as a bartender at the city's most notorious spot meant he knew exactly who was doing what in the city. Or who was doing whom. Every now and then we'd pass a random old man in the street and T' would give me a knowing glance. Of course I'd be shocked and look at him in disbelief.

"Mmmm-hmmm," he would croon, "It's always the ones with the plaid button-up jackets you gots to watch out for. They got the money!" Normally we would laugh.

After lying unconvincingly to my blind date that I either had work the next day or had to take care of my dying Grand Uncle, he assured me he just wanted say "hi" and that seeing me in person was pleasure enough. Feeling a little guilty and not wanting to be rude I agreed to walk him to his hotel room. Turned out he had driven three days to see me, which only made me feel worse.

When we got to the hotel room he offered me a shot of tequila that he insisted, without being prompted, was not spiked. I laughed nervously and told him I didn't drink for religious reasons. He apologized profusely and poured himself a glass of whisky and motioned for me to sit next to him on the bed. I sat as close to the edge of the bed as gravity would allow me without falling off or looking too unfriendly and noticed he already smelled strongly of alcohol.

After a few seconds of awkwardness and me deliberating silently whether I should sneak out or make a run for it, he asked me if I still sang. My face must have lit up because he smiled broadly and stretched out on the bed in expectation. I had put 'singing' as one of my hobbies on BBW and uploaded a couple of videos of myself singing contemporary gospel hits. In some of the videos I was topless because of the summer heat, of course.

Eventually I found myself standing and performing "One Minute" as he lay back sipping from a glass of boxed wine. When I was done he erupted into exaggerated applause. I wasn't sure if it was sarcastic but I took it in stride. I remembered the Dale Carnegie quote my singing teacher always told me: Applause is a receipt, not a bill. I was never sure what that meant exactly, but I knew better than to reject applause.

After the performance I sat down on a chair across from the bed as he slurred about stories about his war veteran status, his ex-wife's gambling addiction and the difficulty of sharing custody of their Chihuahua. A few minutes later he asked me to rub his feet and I told him I needed the bathroom, which was an excuse to use as a segway to leave. In the bathroom I splashed my face with water and looked at the clock on my phone. I had been there three hours.

When I got back I found him passed out so I snuck out quietly. I decided not to tell T' because I knew I would never live this night down.

I got up the next morning and switched on my computer. My heart raced when I saw I had a reply on The Forum from Les Roseaux Sauvages with the subject "RE: Why do you hate me?"

I took a few breaths before I read the message. I had no idea why I was so nervous about reading a message from someone whose interaction with me was limited to a few snide comments on the internet. LesRoseaux Sauvages was a poster I had met and chatted with occasionally on The Forum. He's some kind of militant intellectual-slash-social-commentator-slash-expert-on-American-race-relations, or at least he tries to come across as one. His rants are typically directed at me for some reason. Usually I ignore him but recently I had come under blast by a gang led by Les Roseaux for casually stating that black folks have an inherent physical advantage in sports. It was a simple observation on my part, and clearly not a big deal, but almost as soon as I posted it all hell broke loose. Personal insults … attacks … and damn long essays were sent my way. Wanting to nip the issue in the bud I sent Les Roseaux a message to ask him why he took it so personally.

OK, here goes, I thought to myself as I steadied myself to read his reply.

"All I have ever done is give you some truth. If you think that's mean and vicious, then stop being such an idiotic attention whore and perhaps you wouldn't get so much backlash. I'm not a bully at all, I am actually a sweetheart. But if I see ignorance I'm going to speak out on it. As an intelligent black gay man, your posts are offensive drivel."

I rolled my eyes and began to type my reply.

"Clearly this is bothering you and that's why I PMd you to get clarity. You believing that you a sweetheart is comical. I tried to reason with you but you kept on with your bashing. And I can post watever I want. If you have a problem on the Forum with people you believe are racist, and if you have a problem with the stereotype stuff, then why don't you take it up with them in a more peaceful maner. Dr. Martin Luther King paved the way for us blacks to be able to be acepted as human beings, but he didnt go round bashing and bullying what he thought was ignorant. He did it out of respect and dignity."

I clicked send. Almost immediately a reply popped up on my screen.

"Really? You wanna draw parallels to MLK? I knew you were dumb-ass, Jayseon, but this is a new low. LOL."

"You really need to stop calling me dumb."

"But you don't give any indication that you aren't."

"*Said in my best Royce voice* Until you can kick your leg up to your ear, boo, you can't tell me sh*t."

"Hah! Dead at you stealing lines from Season 2. Stay being late. I'll admit that made me laugh. I didn't know you were into BBW."

"Yes. I stans for Evelyn in particular. LOL."

After not receiving a reply for a couple of minutes I decided to send a new message.

"Why you mad all the time Roseaux?"

I was surprised at the speed at which he replied.

"Yeah I'm going to tell you about that."

"You obviously need all the help you can get. You seem angry all the time. I know the internet can be a place to vent…but sometimes you come across mad angry, man. Like you push people away sometimes. I don't' think that's what you want. "

"OK I'm addicted to porn, I hate my job and I have no friends…I hate my mother too."

"LOL. I know you're kidding and I didn't expect you to reply seriously. But if you want someone to talk to to. You know, like in person I can give you my cell number. It makes a difference. Call me or don't call me, its cool …"

I logged off and went to take a shower.