Ah! Schitz! Dang Dammo!
The man’s thumb had been in overdrive since ten in the morning. A day off meant lazy mornings, pots of black coffee, and too much time to spare. It was never enough just doing nothing, so Mel submitted to his part-time addiction, browsing the internet and stalking people on social media.
Mel, a small man, barely five-two, was a silent observer of the virtual world. Only breaking the quiet in his five-by-eight-foot room to bark his disdain, swearing at the screen and its damaging blue light.
Ficky Titty! Weasel Wonk!
There was no apparent reason for his displeasure and anger, figuring that he knew only two of his social media friends. There were roughly three hundred of them, and not a name or face drew a faint hint of recognition. Mel never used his real name. Or photo. He was Rocky XOXO with an image of a cobra as his profile picture.
It was a well thought and considered move, considering he resembled a Humpty-Dumpty in reality. Short, round, and bald. Could life be any crueler? Yes, it could. Mel was also a two-time divorcee, one time widower, and almost bridegroom for a third and fourth time. Both his catches had chickened out seven feet from the altar.
One said – I need time, the other said – I think I lost my mind.
Leaving Mel to entertain the guests and pay for the bored caterers. So maybe Mel’s anger was justified. And he took it out on the only loved ones he had. A senile stepmother and a junkie half-brother, cursing them out for ruining his adult life. Because someone had to take the blame, and they were the only ones crazy enough to listen.
Thus, the stout man resigned to his rented one room apartment, a hole in a wall, resuming his pathetic life, a garbage collector by day, a sobbing Romeo at night, his pillow a smelly swamp of tears and transparent nasal fluids.
It was during these testing times that Mel discovered another world residing in his phone. So began a love-hate relation with unknown faces and a secret loathing that felt refreshing. The man could spit his contemptuous thoughts any time he wanted. There was no fear of retribution or threat of having his ears boxed. He was Rocky XOXO and like a cobra he stealthily slithered about.
Suck my Pooky! Hobo Wobo!
Mel’s eyes were burning but his thumb wouldn’t slow down. It was enraged by the smiling faces and senseless, bloated descriptions of joy and love, faith and belief, family and friends. Which world was this? Either Mel was an alien, or he had landed on a planet populated with actors and morons.
His thumb stopped abruptly. It double-tapped the screen.
A face sprung out and he almost screamed. Those eyes, that smile, the crooked tooth that made him weak in the knees. It was her, not the third, but the fourth. Jane, not Tarzan’s, but his Jane, the one who had lost her mind at just the right time and had ran with her frumpy white dress raised high above her knees, never looking back to see Mel sinking into a pit of endless melancholy.
She wasn’t alone. There was a man in whose lap she sat, his arms wrapped tightly around her waist. Once Mel’s favorite territory that he often traced with his stubby fingers and kissed with his porky lips. A ring beamed on her third finger, an announcement duly in place.
Engaged to the love of my love – Tony. You and me forever babe.
Mel was sickened by the emojis. There were just too many. So he cursed even louder, his words bouncing off the walls and window. Only God or he knew what they really meant.
Asso Bimbo! Bozo Dogg!
Mel’s thumb then did the unexpected. It betrayed the faith he had bestowed in it. It tapped a tiny thumb resembling it.
Adding fuel to the fire it scrolled down and typed three words in an empty box.
Congratulations Jane, Tony!
Before the man could take stock of the situation, the comment was posted with a sickly emoji languishing after it. A red heart.
Shatt! Shatt! Shatt!
This was preposterous. The double-crossing thumb would have to pay. So up it went, into Mel’s mouth, and he sucked on it like a baby craving for warmth and security. The ‘like and comment’ pasted on the screen, sticking out like sore thumbs themselves. Rocky XOXO, the cobra, had betrayed his own code of conduct. It was Jane – lost her mind’s fault, she was the reason for this awkward moment.
If this was unthinkable, then what happened next was irreversible.
Someone was typing. It had to be Jane. This was her profile which he had befriended in the garb of macho Rocky XOXO, the cobra. The typing stopped and then started again. Had Jane smelled a rat like him many miles away.
Mel’s mouth tugged even more viciously at his thumb while spit dribbled down his chin barely visible in the folds of his skin. What would she say? He didn’t want to know but he had to. Seconds seemed to slow, and time stood still, but Mel continued having his way with his thumb. Maybe it was the connection, sluggish and unreliable, or maybe Jane had gone offline so Tony could smother her with the love Mel had wanted to give her.
So to relieve some anxiety, Mel spit out his thumb and let out more expletives.
Dang Yo Mama! Dang! Dang!
The words, though nonsensical, proved to be magical.
The screen lit up with Jane’s reply. A like for a like, a comment for a comment. At least Jane had some social media etiquette. But only two words.
And an ugly flower emoji that Mel never knew existed. Was this what had taken Jane so long to type? Was the woman kidding? Looks like she never found her mind.
Hell! Hail Satan! Lucifer!
Mel could no longer take it. He flung his phone across the room. And right before it hit the wall it chimed not once but twice. Two more messages. But who would know what they were?
He’ll be working overtime, chucking garbage day and night. It’ll take some money to fix a broken phone. A broken heart is another story.
A Die-Hard Opportunist, he’ll do anything to get into his dream university. Even if it means trading his mother.