Pre-Screening for Romance

On some random occasions the messages would continue almost as if they were on a constant repeat session. Even if Warren stopped replying entirely to older messages, he would get the same messages in the same pattern: greeting, picture, temptation, link to another website.

Warren only wanted to find a nice woman to talk with. Now, he only had an archive of messages from bots looking to get into his wallet. After multiple attempts at trying to find somebody real, he ultimately gave up on actively searching. He began to focus on himself. However, he still kept his profile active online on the dating app he used on his phone, just in case.

Perhaps tonight’s message would have finally given some desirable results?

After a long history dealing with bots and automated messages, Warren couldn’t help but be skeptical and be wary if this was a real woman. The message in hand was the usual generic “Hey” to start with. He had been staring at the screen for at least five minutes trying to decide if he should reply.

Next to every message was the profile picture of the person who sent it. All of his own messages were accompanied by a headshot of himself. His caramel complexion was near flawless, if somebody didn’t notice the small acne scars on his cheeks. His black hair was well kept and trimmed, resembling a small cloud on his head. Brown, shining eyes that complimented his bright smile, Warren thought that he had a presentable profile picture.

As for the woman who sent the first message, he felt his appearance was lack luster in comparison. Her skin was remarkably tanned in her tank top, parts of her peach-colored skin showing for tan lines. Her eyes gleamed green, almost jewel-like even in this digital picture. Her brown hair traveled the length of her back, fanning out midway.

Coming to a decision, Warren shrugged off his worries for the moment and rolled the dice, “I already know what to expect if it doesn’t work out.” He typed his response, reply with a “Hey,” and waited for a reply. Roughly a minute passed before he saw a new message bubble appear. His eyes widened when he saw the message.

“Your profile said you play games for fun.”

Warren forced himself to contain the rising excitement within. He had been so used to see the same kind of messages, so used to seeing the same chain of words in order to bring him in, that seeing something new was a major improvement in his mood. Although it wasn’t a very specific statement or question, he wanted to reply.

“Yeah, I do,” he typed. “I’m actually playing a few things right now.”

He waited for a response. This time, however, he got one back in mere seconds, including a picture. “How about you play with me tonight?”

After dozens of these situations, Warren had received hundreds of photos from beautiful women, aside from the fact that most of them were of naked women. This one in particular was one he saw quite a lot. Susan, Karen, Amanda, Stephanie, the list went on of different names he had for that photo. Seeing the name of the “woman” who messaged him this time, he now had another one to add: Shirley.

Adjusted to the feeling of defeat, Warren sighed and deleted the message history with Shirley. With that chat gone, there was now nothing or anybody waiting to speak to him, no new people to meet. Yet another failed attempt at online dating.

“Fuck it,” Warren mumbled sadly, closing the app and lobbing his phone on his desk. He picked up his controller, resumed the game, and continued his virtual life.

Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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