Author : Thomas Keene
“Plip-plip!” beeped the lenses. Blue jumped up and ran to the bathroom to dry his hair, then stepped back into the living room and pressed his lenses to the bridge of his nose. Glowing green letters reading, “CONNECTING…” seemed to hover in the middle of the room for half a second.
“Blue! How was your day?” A few posters popped onto the walls, followed by a bed, a desk, a high-def console on the opposite wall slightly intersecting Blue’s musty couch. He waited for the rest of the room to load, and then Spaz appeared, lying lazily on her bed. She was wearing a more simple t-shirt today, plain and peach-colored.
“Alright, Spaz. You know, you should clean your room,” he said, squinting at the dirty laundry. “My console took a good fifteen seconds to load all your socks.”
They both laughed. “You’ve already been my boyfriend for a year, you should be used to this by now.”
“Yeah, well, I wanted to talk about that…”
Spaz jumped off of her bed and walked across the room to Blue. “Uh, ‘scuse me, closet.” She stepped around him, and walked through his couch and the wall. “We’ve gotta finish Quest of the Dragon-Tiger, Marissa wants to borrow it.”
Blue stared awkwardly at his dingy, peeling apartment wall. “Look, Spaz, I was wondering if, uh, you know, I could come visit you sometime.”
Spaz leaned out of the wall with a few games in her hand. “What?”
“You know, like in real life. In person.”
She laughed. “Now why would you want to do that? If you’d just quit being so cheap and bought some decent VR equipment, you wouldn’t have to. The new models are like you’re wearing nothing at all.”
She teased Blue with a quick kiss on the cheek before pushing right through him to sit down on her bed. He couldn’t feel it of course.
“But I just want it to feel real.”
“Ah, well, you could always go rent some time at a V-lounge.”
“No, Spaz! I mean really real. This whole time, we’ve never met each other. It feels so strange, but it’s like this relationship isn’t… I want us to have something that’s going to last, something more substantial.”
“What, you want us to have a kid?”
“No! I mean yes, but not now! I’m not like a seventy-something year old having a midlife crisis. I…”
“Okay, Blue. Spit it out. What do you want to tell me?”
He sighed as he felt his cheeks turn flush. “I… I was walking home through the rain today, and thought, ‘this is the most real thing that’s happened to me this week.’ It made me sad, I don’t want the cold and wet to feel more real than you.”
Spaz grinned, and leaned forward with interest. Her shirt had changed colors as they talked, it was red now. “Go on.”
“See, I haven’t bought a VR suit or new games because I’ve been saving up money for…” Blue took a small box out of his pocket. “See, I got you this…”
Blue knelt down so that he was at eye level with Spaz, and opened the box.
“Blue, is that… gzz… you… bzz… ring…”
Spaz froze, purple and yellow cubes popped in the air around her. Socks started jumping around. Then everything in the room disappeared, and “CONNECTION LOST” flashed in front of Spaz’s eyes in foot-tall green letters.