"It's All In The Game" - Chapter One
Forty-seven women had viewed his online profile sometime during the first 24-hours following its posting, and most had used the electronic notification mechanism to inform him that they had an interest in him. Many were within his demographic, meeting the criteria he had specified in his required submission as to what he was seeking in a woman. A few were not even close to his match, either physically or due to their location hundreds of miles away from Washington, D.C. Yet the very interest of these made him smile. He was fresh to this Internet dating arena, and had meticulously written his profile and selected his pictures as if going on a fishing expedition.
Three had gone further than a casual perusal of his "homepage," having evidently read his personal background and scanned through his pictures. However, he considered these three much too young for a 37-year-old. He was not about to negate them as possibilities though, looking over their particulars on his computer screen.
CandiGram2000 was extremely attractive, of a creamy chocolate hue that he favored, and had written a steamy few lines expressing her interest in "The Writer." He sent a quick response to CandiGram, her own profile stating that she was a 22-year-old from Washington, D.C., the exact geographic stream into which he had thrown his heavily baited line.
She described herself as mixed-race; he was black, but not averse to dating any and all who showed an interest in him. Quite regularly a white woman a decade or so younger would send a message expressing interest; some of similar background and race a decade or so older had also expressed an interest. From the beginning he had proven to be quite popular, and the current flood of messages was not surprising to him. He was after all a writer, and his words had been crafted to provide perhaps a mental salve: sentences meant to stroke the hungry heart of some woman setting before a computer maybe a thousands miles away, or possibly, hopefully, just around the corner. Most had told him that it was refreshing to communicate with a man who could indeed communicate; the horror stories were plentiful, the disappointments innumerable.
His last girlfriend had relocated halfway across the country, and with his busy schedule the online advertisements for the Internet dating sites had piqued his interest. He had decided, what the hell, joined one site, paid for the 6-month membership and gone "fishing." He was an early riser; he had a computer in his bedroom and always powered up the desktop upon arising. Especially since joining the paid Internet dating site and later, putting his pictures and profiles up on a few free ones. He had discovered there were literally dozens of such sites, some catering to specific demographics, diverse races, and particular desires: Foreign women seeking American men. Older women seeking younger men. He had stumbled upon a virtual oasis. And he was alone after all, thirsting, a lifelong fisherman, and sexually hungry.
After a visit to the bathroom, he returned to find that a few more women had expressed a mutual interest. He saw that SE Sheila was active at this early hour, hit her up for a session of instant messaging:
DCWriter: What's up, Sheila? Can't sleep?
SE Sheila: Hi, DCWriter. No, I went to bed early. Just up and bored as hell. What are you doing up so early?
DCWriter: Writing, reading email. And, you know, fishing!
SE Sheila: LOL. You a trip! A fisherman of women, huh?
DCWriter: And you know it! Wanna talk 'live?'
SE Sheila: What? On the phone?
DC Writer: Why not? I give you mine, you give me yours? Not that I expect a precious lady such as yourself to call ME, but just to ensure you that I'm no stalker or serial killer or something: (202) 555-8904
SE Sheila: I already Googled you after you gave me your name last time. I'm not worried: (202) 555-3483.
With a landline right beside the computer, he immediately made the call to Sheila.
Vocally, his words were as well chosen as were the ones he used in print. Sheila was a divorced 34-year-old black woman, perfect within his desired demographic, and within "reach." He avoided all the considered petitions from women as far away as California, as close in as Baltimore, as nearby as Alexandria, VA.
Steven Freeman had never married, was not a bad looking guy, and had been continuously employed ever since delivering morning newspapers at the age of ten. A tall, dark and athletically built man, his photo and self-developed profile generated plenty of "hits," as he called them, primarily from black women. But the occasional white woman would begin an Internet exchange with him, as would a few Asian women. For the most part though he was sending messages, and receiving them, from a number of the vast number of single black women in the Greater Metropolitan Washington region.
"So, Southeast Sheila, I was looking at your pictures on FishingForFriends and, damn, I just have to say bluntly, you're fine, from what I can see! A pretty chocolate thing! What happened with that man who left you, or you left him, or whatever?"
Under a thick, warming comforter, Sheila Williams-Braxton was playing with herself. On the bedside table was her "best friend" B.O.B., the battery-operated-boyfriend which had provided her with pleasures earlier in the night, and on many a night over the past seven months. She'd acquired the B.O.B. after discovering then husband Marcus Braxton in intimate conversation with a woman on the Internet dating site FishingForFriends, and quickly evicted him from the apartment they shared. She immediately filed for divorce, for this wasn't his first marital malfeasance. But of course, the divorce was not yet final.
She soon started visiting the same Internet sites Marcus had been so fond of, touting her newfound singularity, and begun fishing herself. "Bob" was purchased shortly thereafter as a safe, and reliable, sexual replacement.
"Aw, that fool wanted to play games," she answered the D.C. Writer. "Have his cake and eat out too. I had to cut his ass loose."
"So, what are you doing now? All early on a Saturday morning? I know you must be a little warm, like, you know: A little heated, you giving up them digits to a perfect stranger."
"Oh, I know more about you than you think," she said, moistening a finger and continuing a clitoral massage. "And you're kind of fine yourself, Steven."
"Ah ha! so you did do your homework. Got my name for, where? You visit my web site?"
"Yes, Steven. You're an interesting guy..."
"And, again, I think you're fine. Ummmm. You know it's so...sensuous...talking to you this time of morning. What are you doing: Sitting up at your computer?"
She answered truthfully. "I'm on my laptop; got it in bed with me. Browsing and going over some ill messages from some guys on the site. I mean, some guys just don't know what to say to a lady, trying to talk to somebody with all of these little sexual innuendos. And then them ones that don't have no picture, and expect me to respond to their ass. Please!"
"I hear ya. So, where you live in Southeast?"
She hesitated, remembering the warnings about divulging too much information to strangers over the Internet, over the phone.
"I'm...uhhh....over off Mississippi Avenue."
"Parklands?" he asked, familiar with the area.
"Yeah. Just inside the D.C. line."
"I'm not too far: Up off Alabama Avenue. So...I know this is kind of....you know...not recommended, you know? Supposed to meet people in a public spot for the first time, right?"
"But you know, it's not like you don't know my background. I mean, you did check me out, thoroughly, as possible as it is on the Net."
"I ain't scared of you, Steven. I mean, I don't usually even give my number out to guys I haven't met yet, you know?"
"I know, Sheila. But...you're all alone, know you're thinking about...you know, about being...a little....close to a ...a...another warm body...like that..."
She wet a finger again, found moistness and began pleasuring herself. "Ummm...man...what you trying to do to me?"
"Ooooh, what I'd like to do to you, Sheila! You know, I'm not bragging or nothing, but you know, where you got your hand right now? That could be me!"
She was taken aback. "How do you know where I got my hand?"
He was getting expert at this, and smiled, knowingly. "Ummm huh. Just by asking that question tells me I'm right." He reached down, took a handful of himself. "I got something warm for you, baby."
And it was heated. Growing thick in anticipation. "All yours, right now, if you want it..."
"Telephone sex. Is that what they call this?"
"Some do. But I just call it foreplay."
"Aw shit!" She didn't mean to say it out loud, and especially not into the phone. But the climax warped away momentary considerations. She came, arching her back and biting her lower lip. "Damn!"
"Ummm," he knew instinctively, having had similar exchanges with other women in the early morning hour, fresh on the site, FishingForFriends. "You come?"
"Urr...why you say that?"
"Well, did you?"
"Damn. Now I guess you don't need me?"
She paused, looked to the B.O.B. on the bedside table, at the luminous dial on the clock. It was 5:58, and there was nothing else on her agenda for the forthcoming day.
"So, you really want to come over?" she asked.
He said yes, got the address.
"See you in about half an hour."