Screens. A collection of very short stories - 5


Two-hundred-and-forty users were online when Tom connected. Forty had switched on their web-cams, the remaining two hundred preferring to remain faceless, bodyless nicknames. Chatroom promises such as hairy_hot20, str8boy, 18oz, nz-slut. 
Of the forty who had switched on their cam, most offered zooms of their lower body parts. Tom discovered few faces, even fewer smiles. Adult chat via web-cam seemed to be a serious business. 
He heard moaning. Saw men rubbing their members. Glistening skin, the rustling of body-hair. An uncut Australian. A shaved Indianapolis chest. Mexican fur. L.A. drooling. The written exchanges consisted of encouragements, come-ons, loud cheers when a peak was announced, reached, and displayed. 
Tom watched the shows in silence, his web-cam directed at his face. He felt a strange kind of yearning well up inside. His right hand moved down to his crotch. He felt a binge of remorse, but only briefly. 
That’s when someone chatted him up at last. A certain “fulloflove”, whose cam showed a handsome young Indian boy in his twenties lying on his bed, fully clothed. The boy looked straight at Tom, a shy smile twinkling around his lips. 
They started to place their conversation in the public chatroom, amidst the expressions of desire and lust. Tom needed both hands now to type his sentences. 
The boy had just moved from New Delhi to San Francisco and was living with his cousin. He didn’t have any local friends yet, the town was new to him, the country strange. Tom told anecdotes of with life with Brad. The boy grew sad, saying he was looking for his Prince Charming, too. “I wanna wake up with somebody,” he wrote. 
They moved on to everyday items like walking the dog, exchanging advice about cooking and recipes. 
Tom found their conversation rather comical. While everybody else was rubbing, watching, getting aroused, reaching a climax, here they were, chatting about curry and how to prepare a good meal. 
“You guys talking potatoes?” an anonymous participant asked after a while. His nick was hairy hot. 
“Potatoes and love”, Tom replied.

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