One year ago I would've laughed at anyone who said it was possible to sit in front of a computer, hour after hour, and type to a bunch of random names in a chat room. I would've thought them mad to be quite honest with you. Just goes to show you what I know.
I never would've discovered chatting, and all its fascinating, baffling, obnoxious, humorous rules, codes and ways, if I hadn't been ordered into an adult chat room by my boss, Lt. Jack Gramm. Why did my boss order me into the realm of online chatting you ask? Because I had to track down a cold-blooded murderer who was using a chat room as a hunting ground. I don't want to get off-track with the details (you can read all about it in S.C. Lang's novel, Original Sin, soon to be released by i Universe Books.) Rather, I wish to focus on the amazing subculture of chatting and chat rooms.
I knew absolutely nothing about chatting when I given my assignment. Not that I thought that was a problem, mind you. I mean come on, how hard can it be, right? Just go in there, type, type, type and boom, you have whatever you're looking for within a matter of minutes. Simple. How wrong I was. Chat rooms, as I soon discovered, are just like soap operas. Each individual room is its own show, and the people in those rooms are its cast. Believe it or not this is important information. The same people tend to show up around the same times every day. The people who do that are called "regulars." Regulars tend to own the room. Everyone knows them and greets them when they enter. They then dominate the topic of conversation in the room. This can be very frustrating when you're a cop like me trying to hunt down information on a dangerous killer, and the regulars decide to talk about something as earth-shatteringly important as last weeks episode of House. I hate that show, just for the record. Pompous ass. If I ever met him I'd stick that cane of his . . . see how easy it is for me to get off-track?
But that's the way it works, see. Chat rooms have their own rules. Each room's rules vary, but they all have them, and you had better learn them quick and follow them to the letter if you want to get anywhere. The room I was in was called the Sex Stage (this room does not really exist, it's in the book Original Sin, by S.C. Lang, so please don't go looking for it.) Catchy title, huh? The rules to this room where fairly basic; get the regulars to accept and like you by playing the game their way. In my case I used humor to worm my way in. Everybody loves the funny man. I was never rude or lewd in the main room. I went to great lengths to learn who the regulars were, and then to befriend them. I had to, my job demanded it.
What I learned was that I liked chatting. No, check that, I loved chatting. It was fun and a great way to escape the pressures and stress of everyday life. I got to invent a whole new identity - how cool is that? My nickname in the room was Duke, of course based after John Wayne. Duke was everything I was and more. He was funny, charming, witty, clever and never at a loss for the right thing to say. Duke easily won over the regulars and was soon considered one of the leaders of the room. This was good. It made my job easier - not easy, mind you, but easier (I'll delve deeper into that in future blogs.) When I was Duke I was happy. People liked me. People accepted me. Females wanted to sleep with me, and the guys all wanted to be me. It was great. And scary. I soon discovered I was addicted to chatting. All I wanted to do was hit the Sex Stage and see my friends. I was all caught up in the in-room dramas of who was with whom, who was cheating on whom, and with who. It all seemed so vitally important. I could easily spend five, six, seven hours in the room and not think anything of it. I told everyone I was just doing my job, which was true enough. I never did abandon my search for the killer, but there was so much more to it it than just me doing my job. I came dangerously close to losing myself to Duke.
I'll get more into that in future blogs as well. Now I had better get my ass back to work. I'll talk to you all tomorrow. Thanks for reading this blog.
Until then, this is Detective Dallas Holden - (S.C. Lang, Original Sin.)