"Oh, well... it's going... too well. I decided to be bold, get it over with, and show up for work in skinny jeans. Y'know, send a message. Well, message received," a young man said into his cellphone, as he ran a hand through his greasy, short blond spikes of hair.
"Don't leave me hanging!"
The guy got up from his bed, where he'd been lying on the sheets, and stretched. He was over six feet tall, with barely anything but skin on his bones. "Well, this young kid, your age, he volunteered to train me. He'd only been there two months, but they let him. Even told him to go easy on me, since I'm in school and everything."
"Pffft. Such pricks."
"Yeah. There was definitely a prick involved," he told his phone. "He gives me a full tour. Goes over routine at the cash register, which is no biggy for me, 'cause I've worked fast food before. Then he shows me the stock room. There's a job for us there. Loading boxes onto some shelves. Well, I'm halfway up a ladder when he -"
"Aww... James, did he accuse you of being a faggot?"
"Noo. Well, yes, actually... but not like that."
"The guy asked politely?"
"Too politely. With his hand."
"Yeah. Seriously. I told him to stop, like, right away."
"And how did that go over?"
"It didn't. He said, 'So, ya like it rough, do ya?'. Frickin' punk. Then he sped up. I said, quite firmly, 'Stop!'. He smiled up at me. I said, 'Dude, I have a boyfriend. Get off me!' And then he... well, I'd rather not tell you how he responded to that, but it made my eyes roll into the back of my head. The next second, he was done, so I knee'd him right off me."
"Fell right off the ladder. He broke his ankle. He filed a complaint, physical harassment. Claims I flipped out on him, Stace."
"Yikes. I'm sorry to hear that."
"Yeah. So on my second shift, I had to tell the manager my side of the story. I pretended to be straight, so he would take me seriously. He bought it. And... apparently it wasn't the first incident of its kind. A male customer claimed to have been groped by him, but apparently the-customer-is-always-right principle doesn't work in that situation. I assume because the customer was gay, and rather flamboyant at that."
"See, your co-worker's precisely the kind of jerk I don't want to find online. And I think I know the right questions to ask, y'know? Admit it, I am good at spotting a liar."
"Hmm... yeah," he said, remembering an overly friendly compulsive liar who'd tried making conversation with them at a café downtown.
"And I suppose the chemistry tests will pair up most of the emotional weirdos with other emotional weirdos, right?"
"I'm hoping, for your sake..." and mine. "Well, I told my boyfriend about him. They're the same age. Figured they probably go to school together, thought they might know each other."
"What's his name?"
"Billy Lorne," said James, his voice thick with disgust. For a moment, he could even smell the vile scent of the guy's sweat, fogged with too much Ax, like synthetic pheromones catered to the opposite sex.
"You're dating the Billy Lorne? James, he's a freaking local underwear model!" she was ecstatic.
"What?! No. He's the other guy. I don't want to know how you know that."
"Sorry, my mom wrote a story on him for the Star. I swear."
"Why do you suppose an underwear model's doing working the cash register?"
"Good question. Okay, lemme open Google Images. Tell me what he looks like."
"A medium-length brown swoop, cropped to the side, cut a little unevenly. Slender, muscled I guess. About 5'10. Weighs enough to be kicked off a ladder by yours truly."
James cringed. "Green. Eugh... that smile will haunt me forever."
"Okay, that's the guy. Modeling must not pay enough, who knows. Maybe it's not a full-time thing? Anyways, I'm pretty sure it's him... and I think I've... HAH! Same picture Google's giving me, I've seen cropped before, like ten minutes ago."
"On Plenty of Fish. It's a--"
"That's the site you're using!?"
"Yeah. Uh... you're familiar with it?"
"Yup," James said, blushing though he was alone.
"You freaking hypocrit, James Deacon! How dare you... telling me to be cautious when you're using the same site to find boys. You sly little fox!"
"Well, he's fired. But, yeah, my boyfriend's heard of him. After leading him on, a month or so ago, Billy outed him to the whole football team. Got the spit 'n blood kicked out o' him..."