Claimer: This is normally where I'd state it's not mine - but it is! MUU HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HARR. yea.

Although, Dates, times, places, events, objects, SN's, and Broadway musicals are not necessarily mine. Necessarily. (wait for it . . . soon I shall rule the world . . . real soon . . .)

And I understand it was kinda longish before, so I've tried rewriting more ov it. Third time lucky, eh?

Common Ground and Holy Land; they may never meet

I turned on the computer at the oversized grey button, reaching into the dark void beneath and feeling it out. My fingertips traced the lines of the grey plastic, eventually finding the On. See, my ancient computer was one of those ones with a freestanding modem, which squatted under my desk. At just the right height to become a footrest. And when it got running, it gave off a slight heat. Even better.

I typed in my password, and clicked to establish a link online. Earlier this year I'd cancelled the second phone line, and now I get everyone to ring me on my mobile. I hummed along with the tuneful dial tone, and opened the favorites. Chat room. It opened, and the six others who hung here with me gave their respective greetings.

And so another day began in my romanticized world of chat and chatter. This was my utopia, my ultimate reality that I could always escape into, with friends who I had never met, who would accept me whoever I presented myself to be.

And on that topic - I was female here. Don't ask me how it came about, I'm not quite sure what came over me when it came to filling out the form on the e-mail asking my gender . . .

At any rate, being female did have its advantages. I could flirt with anyone I wanted, I could be sensitive, over-dramatize, and I didn't have to say "kool" at the end of every line. It was, I decided, the most fun I'd had in a long time, and it was such a good role playing game . . . infalliable, with the best of both worlds.

My real life was not so hot.

I would have liked to think of it as a secret double life. By day, I was Teucer Glayde, with no romantic job, simply a paper shuffler in a big firm. I was meant to be a psychologist, a Hollywood movie star, or an acclaimed artist, but due to an overbearing boss and equally overbearing parents during the teenage years, I ended up combining Psych with Commerce, and working in a bank.

Go figure.

And yet my normally antisocial tendencies disappeared online, as I stepped into this sanctuary I had created some time last year. I chatted to these people constantly, they were like a better version of my family.

When my last relationship fell apart, they were there.

When I accidentally crashed my //old// car (thank the gods), well, they did send me a virtual get-well-soon card.

The time I got in a major fight with my boss, they suggested I dress up in something revealing and suck up to him big time. Sure, they thought I was female, but I gave it a go, and, I orta say, it worked. I even got a slight promotion, as I was now permitted to make his coffee. Scary, but Yay.

I found myself growing close to these strangers, and was unprepared for the revelation that one was coming over here. Rodney, screen-named Daemon_ scorcher, was, he said, a fireman from somewhere in the US. Geography means little when you are as well traveled as I - one click, and I have traveled all over the world.

But that was then. Now he reckoned he was coming over here.

Why, why, why?

Okay, firstly, 'here' is Perth, Western Australia. Now Perth is a hole. no one comes here. There is nothing here to come for. It's the same as every other place. It has suburbs, night clubs, a tiny city, a river. The CBD spans about 8.7 kilometers. Microscopic, like I said. It just didn't make sense to me.

At any rate, something had to be done. Daemon_scorcher reckoned he was coming over here - and he certainly wasn't expecting to meet me. Well, not like I am.

So I didn't know, straight out, what I course of action I could take.

I basically have no friends I fell I'd be willing to ask to meet Rodney in my place, in fact, the only person who would even remotely fit the description would be my little sister, and there was NO WAY I would EVER ask her. (*blyak*)

It would have been easier if I had stood Daemon up, but these people were my friends, I didn't know if I could go back after doing that. Besides, a part of me wanted to know who I'd been talking to for the past year. Sometimes I had gone cyber with these people - but it was all just talk for me, I couldn't pretend that much. And the thought of loosing my friends scared me too much.

The notion occurred to me, I must add, that perhaps I could disguise myself to adopt the image of a petite attractive brunette, being myself not overly tall. I stared in the mirror for at least ten minutes, then decided that no much power or eye shadow would cover up my immediate post-shaving five-o- clock-shadow, unless I wanted it to look like I was in drag. Besides, I don't really have the figure.

Eventually, I decided I would just have to tell them the truth. I wasn't sure how. It got me worried like I had been when I originally went for the job I have now. What would the others think? I decided it would be easier if I just told them one at a time. So I whispered Daemon_ scorcher first, and decided to fess all.

PlaTnIumAnGel: hey.

Daemon_ scorcher: Yo

PlaTnIumAnGel: so, u still coming down under?

Daemon_ scorcher: U bet. U still live there?

PlaTnIumAnGel: yep

Daemon_ scorcher: I arrive on the 16 March

PlaTnIumAnGel: that's next week

Daemon_ scorcher: I spose it is. Is there a problem?

PlaTnIumAnGel: well, I do have something to tell you . . .

PlaTnIumAnGel: about who I am.

Daemon_ scorcher: if you're not a gorgeous brunette, that's okay, most chicks tend to exaggerate their attractiveness over chat.

PlaTnIumAnGel: well, not necessarily that, I am just not a chick.

PlaTnIumAnGel: you still there?

Daemon_ scorcher: WTF??? Are U fooling around?

PlaTnIumAnGel: not really. I am a guy. I just thought you should know if ur coming over still.

Daemon_ scorcher: gtg, C-ya later

PlaTnIumAnGel: no, wait!

Daemon_ scorcher has left the conversation

Well, what can I say. we had all said some pretty intimate things over the course of time. Hopefully he wouldn't be too upset. Hopefully he wouldn't tell the others if he was. I felt pretty bad, and opted to watch TV that night.

Ho hummmmmm.. (adopts yoga position)

Yeah, righteo then.