So What Next
Alexander Gordon Jahans
"So, what next?" asked the Farsh-nuke as I lay gasping for breath. "You leapt head first into the abyss and it spat you back out. What are you gonna do now?"
"Keep going, doing what I always do, survive." I say as I get to my feet.
"You're going to go back to a world of podcasts, Skyrim and failed letsplays." said the Farsh-nuke, smirking. "That's your grand plan."
I stare at him. We're on a beach somewhere far below the cliffs of my mind. "It worked so far and anyway you know I don't plan."
"Oh that's right, I forgot. You lurch..." said the Farsh-nuke sneering at me, wringing his hands in frustration.
"Yeah..." I say with a shrug, heading off up the beach, far from the lunging range of lurking sharks.
The Farsh-nuke strides after me. "You survived the abyss. You stared headlong into it and now, what? Chips and gravy? Tearful wanks? Yet more pointless baiting of the haters?"
"It's my life." I say, sighing.
"No." said the Farsh-nuke, stopping and shaking his head. "You can be more, you can be so much more."
I pause in my steps and turn to glare at him.
The Farsh-nuke holds my gaze, deathly serious. "What are you afraid of?"
"I have no money..." I say pointedly.
"You have enough." said the Farsh-nuke, glaring at me now.
" I just..." The words dry in my mouth. "I just..."
"You are not the boy you once were." said the Farsh-nuke meaningfully.
"No. He would never have done the things I did this year." I say bitterly.
The Farsh-nuke shook his head. "Young Alex was a fool. A noble persistent martyr of a fool. You know better. You know people, you can read them, you can handle yourself."
I grimace and grit my teeth. "I was betrayed and back stabbed by people I thought were friends, My mother has been lying to me my entire life and I failed at pushing my father out of the house when he was sitting in a wheeled chair."
The Farsh-nuke nodded. "Not great, I'll grant you but the world isn't full of dragons and zombies. There are no supernatural threats only fallible people and those experiences have made you wiser, bolder, less timid." The Farsh-nuke looked me in the eye. "You stared the betrayal of your friends and mother and your own emotions in the eye and you know better now. You can look after yourself."
"Except I can't." I say. "I need money and a roof over my head, I need injections and pills and cream. I am a wreck, a mess. I should be dead."
"Yet you aren't." said the Farsh-nuke with a smile. "I'm not saying that you are completely independent. Nobody is. I'm saying that you can function on your own, that if trouble arises you can deal with it without crying or running away. you can go out there and seize life by the bloody balls."
I burst out laughing. "I'm a geek! My life, my home is a computer."
"It wasn't with Matthew." said the Farsh-nuke.
The laughter freezes in my throat.
"You gave up everything to be with him. Your home, your volunteering, your benefits, even your youtube, facebook and friends. When your computers were fixed you barely used them and you devoted yourself to him utterly." said the Farsh-nuke.
My nostrils flare and narrow my eyes at the Farsh-nuke. "I had no choice and even then it didn't work."
"Like bullshit, it didn't." said the Farsh-nuke. "There were problems, big problems, but you were happy with him. Happier than any fucking bingewatch or game session."
"So what should I do?" I ask.
"Find someone." said the Farsh-nuke simply.
"I've tried..." I begin to say.
"You and I both know that the internet makes people fussy." said the Farsh-nuke. "Go out, drink, talk to people."
"But what if...?" I groan and gesture down below.
The Farsh-nuke snorts.
I glare at him.
The Farsh-nuke sighs. "We live in an age where people are having a go at authors for writing fiction that reflects distressing situations. I'm fairly certain that whoever you do find will respect when you say no and if they don't you're bloody big. And if you do decide to go through with things and they take dissatisfaction with things you were better off without them anyway."
"How do I begin though?" I ask.
"Hello often works." said the Farsh-nuke pointedly. "Don't kid yourself. You ain't going to land your dream girl on the first try but at the moment you are barely trying."
I groan and look up the hill. "I'm not good with people, the shame it... It's not good for me."
"You seem to manage fine with nearly two thousand racists using you as a freak show." said the Farsh-nuke pointedly.
"That makes me money and I am in complete control." I say dryly.
"So you're fine with two thousand people who think you're a freak laughing at your tits but you're not fine with one hypothetical woman saying no to a drink from you?" said the Farsh-nuke. "Or does money really mean more to you then your greatest fantasy?"
"I'm ugly and broke." I say finally.
"How do you know?" said the Farsh-nuke.
I whip my head back round to glare at him. "Are you serious?"
"Beauty and poverty is in the eye of the beholder." said the Farsh-nuke. "And the more your hate base grows the more your income will too. Plus, lest we forget your physical fitness is on a steady upward path at the moment."
"But my mother..." I begin.
"Your mother can hear about your love life from your videos like the rest of your hate base and if she won't understand privacy get a lock on your door. " said the Farsh-nuke.
I groan and rake my face. "You don't understand."
"No, I don't because you created me to be confident but here's the thing Alex, I think you're confident, or getting there at least. Go, find someone. Fuck the racists, fuck the politics and fuck the damned writing. Go out and talk to people." said the Farsh-nuke.
"I'll get bored." I say.
"Then go somewhere with good wifi and bring your tablet." said the Farsh-nuke.
The Farsh-nuke stared at me. "It is okay to be attracted to someone and to ask them out so long as they say no, you know. And you're six foot one, I doubt you're going to get jumped and even if they do isn't it better to die trying to achieve your fantasies than running from the world."
I groan. "I knew I shouldn't have had you ask that question."
The Farsh-nuke snorted. "I'm not really here mate, All this is just you trying to figure out what you want and it turns out that shock of shocks the man who has been writing about submissive women long before he created me wants to meet a submissive woman and now you're a confident person who has stared into the abyss and lived you can do it."
I stare at him as the metaphor collapses.
The Farsh-nuke scratched the back of his head absently then pointed at me. "Oh and try and get the qualifications to be an IT guy yeah, a way to make money and gain experience for when you make a custom rig. Good luck with everything and remember it's not just your self loathing in here."