Chapter Five

Aeris looks around nervously, but nobody is in the vicinity at the moment. She stands in front of where Johnny disappeared. All that remain are the dropped nutsack, the white chess piece, and Johnny's clothes.

Aeris: Odd... He didn't seem the type who would lag out like that. (shrug) Oh well. Finders keepers... (reaches for the queen)

Leo: There you are!

Aeris: (picks the piece up quickly, puts it in her pocket, and then turns around to see Leo running up to her) How... Uh... Leo! Funny seeing you here...

Leo: (half-opened eyes, arms folded across chest, coy smirk) You left your instant messenger logged in, so I did some quick tracing. But that's not the point. The point, dear Aeris, is that the game is up and the jig is over.

Aeris: What?

Leo: Oh don't pretend like you don't know. I'm on to your little antics.

Aeris: You... are?

Leo: (nod) That's right. I know aaaaaaaall about what you've been up to. Only question is, what made you think you'd keep me in the dark, hm?

Aeris: (panicking) Look, Leo, I can explain--

Leo: (deep breath, still smirking) Oh, what's to explain? You've beaten me at every other game we've played--fighters aside--and now you wanted to go easy on me so I'd feel so much better about myself.

Aeris: But I--(lower inflection, no longer panicking) Wait. What did you say?

Leo: In that last game we were playing, you surrendered needlessly when you were really a mere three moves from checkmating me.

Aeris: I... was?

Leo: Mmm-hmm. And that's not all.

Aeris: It's not?

Leo: (triumphantly) As I recall our previous games--and we have each one's moves logged--I'm pretty sure you could have beaten me easily in most of them. Case in point, Game Seven, you captured my rook when you could have captured my bishop and forced checkmate in one. Game Ten, you could have performed En Poisson and captured the knight that was crucial to my attack plan--

Aeris: What's an On Pwassen?

Leo: Oh, don't play dumb with me, Aeris. Just realize that the next time we play, I want and am outright requesting you to bring all the skill you have to the table. No more of this pity on me. (Gets dramatic) I want you to try and rape my rooks! Pulverize my pawns! Ball-clamp the bishops! If you can...

Aeris: (now annoyed, mumbling) Oh I'll be sure to ball-clamp someone alright...

Leo: Anyway, I'm gonna go work on my defense strategy some more. Just say when you want to take me on again. And I know we're both cats, but I'd like to think we're both above pussyfooting. Toodles! (fades out)

Aeris: (determined, gritted teeth) May you get what you wish for, Leo Leonardo...


The black, soulless place I stood in now was so cold, my nipples could have filled Madonna's bra. My avatar had no clothes left. My only choices were to drop offline or wait to see what would happen next.

I would have opted for the former, but before I could pull the plug on the connection, a spotlight shone on me.

A voice that sounded like it came from a megaphone said, "Attention, cheater! Do not move. You are under vigilante arrest. We have taken over your Internet connection. Any attempt to run will result in termination of your computer and a possible criminal lawsuit."

Ah, authorities, eh? Well, that explained the virus, at least. I quickly wondered who this would be... Sony? The Music Industry? The Movie Industry? Somebody still more evil than that?

I know it's hard to imagine, but bare with me for a moment.

Despite my curiosity, I kept silent. One always keeps silent in these situations. Let them do the talking, because he who talks most, loses. Meantime, better be ready for anything...

"We are going to start analyzing your system files now."

Okay. So they weren't going to answer it for me. Fair enough. "Who are you?"

"We don't have to tell you that."

"Yes, actually, you do."

"No we don't."

"Yes you do."







"Do--I mean--Aw fuck."

Bugs Bunny, how I love thee.

"Well we're not telling you, anyway. Just stand still and don't put up a fight, and maybe we'll let you get offline safely."

A metallic hand reached into the spotlight and attempted to touch me and thus gain access to my system files. I wasn't about to give in that easily, though... especially not to a spybot.

I quickly summoned a firewall--the industrial variety typically used to protect only the finest of porn servers. It covered my body in flame, and I could already see the hand melting in front of me. It stopped in hesitation, then backed off before a drop of metal could fall to the ground. While it considered what to do about my protection, I snapped my fingers and produced a floppy disk labeled, "Bitchslap.exe."

"Do not think you can stop us so easily," said the voice. "We will simply--"

And then I attacked.


(Leo and Aeris are at the giant chessboard--white and black respectively. Leo moves his king's pawn out and says, "Your move!")

Aeris: My pleasure... (moves her king's pawn out, too)

(...Five minutes later...)

Leo: Ha! (takes a bishop with his knight)

Aeris: Oh, don't laugh so hard... (reaches into her pocket and holds the queen in her fist.) I got a feeling you're a tad bit overexposed.

Leo: What makes you say that? Are my pants too tight?

Aeris: Uh... no.

Leo: Good, because they're new. I wanted them to fit my figure enough to be sexy without looking too European in the process.

Aeris: (cringe, tongue halfway out of mouth in disgust) Ew... No, I mean your pieces. They're... Oh, nevermind. I'm just gonna whoop your ass. (moves a pawn five spaces sideways and takes Leo's queen)

Leo: Uh... (looks intently at the board) Hm. Funny. I thought I'd taken both your--wait, that's not a rook...

Aeris: It's a queen, Leo. And so am I. Now, as you asked for it earlier, prepare to be raped.

Leo: (looks up) What do you--Oh, wow! Aeris! I, uh, um...

Aeris: What?

Leo: (begins fawning) You're byooteeful. (Drool.)

Aeris: (Raises a fist) Say that one more time, and I will come over there right now and shove your king piece in orifices you didn't know existed--(realizes her hand is in an elegant white glove) What the hell? I... (looks at her new gown, a very regal red and white design) Oh. So I'm a queen now. Guess Johnny wasn't kidding with me.

Leo: You can... uh, have the next move, too, if you want.

Aeris: Leo? (waves) Leo!

Leo: Sooo pretty...


Leo: (snaps out of it) So uh... where were we?

(Aeris suddenly shrinks a little.)

Aeris: Total imminent domination, that's where. And I accept your double-move offer. (moves a pawn up several spaces and takes the aforementioned knight.)

(Aeris shrinks again, to about half her previous size, but she's too irate even to notice.)

Leo: Um, Aeris? You alright?

Aeris: Yes, fine, fine. Just move.

Leo: Okay... (moves a bishop)

Aeris: (Shrink, moves a pawn and takes that bishop. Her voice is higher than normal.) HAHAHA! What do you think now?

Leo: I think... (Aeris shrinks some more) ...that I will move this rook... (shrink) ...and that should be... (shrink) Why, yes it is: (shrink) Checkmate!

Aeris: (ultra-high squeal) FUCK! (disappears)

(Leo looks where Aeris once was. He awkwardly waits. After a moment...)

Leo: So, yeah. See you back at the place, I guess. Oh, and if you're still listening, I really like the dress!

(Somewhere in the ether of the web, a minuscule voice yells a crude retort, but it is too soft for any ears.)