Reality Check and other stories by Marise Morland

EXTRACT FOR
Reality Check and other stories 
(Marise Morland)


E-divorce 2057

What can I say about Astralita? We met in an immersive chat room; fell in love, got married – a sumptuous virtual wedding with hundreds of guests, and a honeymoon at mytropicalisland.com. It cost a fortune, but I worked extra e-security shifts at milesofwarehouse.com to finance it. Afterwards we designed our virtual house. It was spacious and webspace was at a premium, but it was what Astralita wanted and I was content. She didn’t think we should become too wrapped up in each other, so sometimes, when she visited strictlydancetillyoudrop.com, I took myself off to blokesinsheds.com.
Soon, we applied to neonates.com for our own virtual child. A true cyberbeing with no one controlling its avatar. A program that would evolve and grow according to our input. I’d already signed the purchase agreement. On receipt of Astralita’s endorsement, the infant would be ours. But suddenly, she had second thoughts. She wasn’t ready; it was too soon, it was too much responsibility. And later, instead of welcoming me home, she was often absent when I logged out of milesofwarehouse.com.
So, I did what any suspicious e-husband would do. I had her followed by a virtual private eye from gumshoegeeks.com.
All too soon, I had my answers. Astralita had been frequenting a site called sexismyadventure.com, in the company of a certain Bad Boy Byron. My pal from blokesinsheds.com!
“There’s more,” said the gumshoe. “They weren’t trying to avoid me, so I challenged them. Astralita’s divorcing you.”
I needed to digest this so I said I’d get back to him. I was in bits. I wanted an explanation. Astralita had unfriended me so I decided to confront her on the Outside. Yes, outside in the real world.
It was a winter’s night, and nothing was as I remembered it. Pitiless blue street lighting, rows of identical apartment blocks with shuttered windows. No traffic. Weeds everywhere.
“Oi,” said someone.
I turned. A lone workman was prising a tree root from the highway.
“You’re from Virtual. What’re you doing out here?”
I explained. Maybe he knew where Leviathan Block was.
“Thinking of walking there, were you? In that jumpsuit? You’ll catch your death. Go on home.”
“I have to find her!” I tried to shake him and he brandished the spade. An unmanned patrol car slid by, camera whirring.
The workman swore. “Now look what you’ve done! You’ll be fined. Bugger off back to Virtual and forget about wifey. Nobody lives at Leviathan – it’s a server relay. She could be halfway around the world!”
Defeated, I went. It took me over an hour to find my apartment.
When I jacked into Virtual, the e-decree absolute had arrived. I didn’t read it. Gumshoe was still waiting for his fee. I cancelled my next supply of protein shots and paid him.
“I’ve an idea,” he said. “There’s a site called forsaken.com. They can help you pick up the pieces.”
And that’s why I’m here. But before I book a full session, I’ve a score to settle. With Bad Boy Byron.

Reality Check and other stories by Marise Morland

EXTRACT FOR
Reality Check and other stories 
(Marise Morland)


E-divorce 2057

What can I say about Astralita? We met in an immersive chat room; fell in love, got married – a sumptuous virtual wedding with hundreds of guests, and a honeymoon at mytropicalisland.com. It cost a fortune, but I worked extra e-security shifts at milesofwarehouse.com to finance it. Afterwards we designed our virtual house. It was spacious and webspace was at a premium, but it was what Astralita wanted and I was content. She didn’t think we should become too wrapped up in each other, so sometimes, when she visited strictlydancetillyoudrop.com, I took myself off to blokesinsheds.com.
Soon, we applied to neonates.com for our own virtual child. A true cyberbeing with no one controlling its avatar. A program that would evolve and grow according to our input. I’d already signed the purchase agreement. On receipt of Astralita’s endorsement, the infant would be ours. But suddenly, she had second thoughts. She wasn’t ready; it was too soon, it was too much responsibility. And later, instead of welcoming me home, she was often absent when I logged out of milesofwarehouse.com.
So, I did what any suspicious e-husband would do. I had her followed by a virtual private eye from gumshoegeeks.com.
All too soon, I had my answers. Astralita had been frequenting a site called sexismyadventure.com, in the company of a certain Bad Boy Byron. My pal from blokesinsheds.com!
“There’s more,” said the gumshoe. “They weren’t trying to avoid me, so I challenged them. Astralita’s divorcing you.”
I needed to digest this so I said I’d get back to him. I was in bits. I wanted an explanation. Astralita had unfriended me so I decided to confront her on the Outside. Yes, outside in the real world.
It was a winter’s night, and nothing was as I remembered it. Pitiless blue street lighting, rows of identical apartment blocks with shuttered windows. No traffic. Weeds everywhere.
“Oi,” said someone.
I turned. A lone workman was prising a tree root from the highway.
“You’re from Virtual. What’re you doing out here?”
I explained. Maybe he knew where Leviathan Block was.
“Thinking of walking there, were you? In that jumpsuit? You’ll catch your death. Go on home.”
“I have to find her!” I tried to shake him and he brandished the spade. An unmanned patrol car slid by, camera whirring.
The workman swore. “Now look what you’ve done! You’ll be fined. Bugger off back to Virtual and forget about wifey. Nobody lives at Leviathan – it’s a server relay. She could be halfway around the world!”
Defeated, I went. It took me over an hour to find my apartment.
When I jacked into Virtual, the e-decree absolute had arrived. I didn’t read it. Gumshoe was still waiting for his fee. I cancelled my next supply of protein shots and paid him.
“I’ve an idea,” he said. “There’s a site called forsaken.com. They can help you pick up the pieces.”
And that’s why I’m here. But before I book a full session, I’ve a score to settle. With Bad Boy Byron.

EXTRACT FOR
Reality Check and other stories 
(Marise Morland)


E-divorce 2057

What can I say about Astralita? We met in an immersive chat room; fell in love, got married – a sumptuous virtual wedding with hundreds of guests, and a honeymoon at mytropicalisland.com. It cost a fortune, but I worked extra e-security shifts at milesofwarehouse.com to finance it. Afterwards we designed our virtual house. It was spacious and webspace was at a premium, but it was what Astralita wanted and I was content. She didn’t think we should become too wrapped up in each other, so sometimes, when she visited strictlydancetillyoudrop.com, I took myself off to blokesinsheds.com.
Soon, we applied to neonates.com for our own virtual child. A true cyberbeing with no one controlling its avatar. A program that would evolve and grow according to our input. I’d already signed the purchase agreement. On receipt of Astralita’s endorsement, the infant would be ours. But suddenly, she had second thoughts. She wasn’t ready; it was too soon, it was too much responsibility. And later, instead of welcoming me home, she was often absent when I logged out of milesofwarehouse.com.
So, I did what any suspicious e-husband would do. I had her followed by a virtual private eye from gumshoegeeks.com.
All too soon, I had my answers. Astralita had been frequenting a site called sexismyadventure.com, in the company of a certain Bad Boy Byron. My pal from blokesinsheds.com!
“There’s more,” said the gumshoe. “They weren’t trying to avoid me, so I challenged them. Astralita’s divorcing you.”
I needed to digest this so I said I’d get back to him. I was in bits. I wanted an explanation. Astralita had unfriended me so I decided to confront her on the Outside. Yes, outside in the real world.
It was a winter’s night, and nothing was as I remembered it. Pitiless blue street lighting, rows of identical apartment blocks with shuttered windows. No traffic. Weeds everywhere.
“Oi,” said someone.
I turned. A lone workman was prising a tree root from the highway.
“You’re from Virtual. What’re you doing out here?”
I explained. Maybe he knew where Leviathan Block was.
“Thinking of walking there, were you? In that jumpsuit? You’ll catch your death. Go on home.”
“I have to find her!” I tried to shake him and he brandished the spade. An unmanned patrol car slid by, camera whirring.
The workman swore. “Now look what you’ve done! You’ll be fined. Bugger off back to Virtual and forget about wifey. Nobody lives at Leviathan – it’s a server relay. She could be halfway around the world!”
Defeated, I went. It took me over an hour to find my apartment.
When I jacked into Virtual, the e-decree absolute had arrived. I didn’t read it. Gumshoe was still waiting for his fee. I cancelled my next supply of protein shots and paid him.
“I’ve an idea,” he said. “There’s a site called forsaken.com. They can help you pick up the pieces.”
And that’s why I’m here. But before I book a full session, I’ve a score to settle. With Bad Boy Byron.

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