This Thing You Call ''Love''

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Daily Deviation
Daily Deviation
April 1, 2017
This Thing You Call ''Love'' by OnLinedPaper
Featured by doughboycafe
OnLinedPaper's avatar

Literature Text

He wondered what she thought he was doing. It was a bit of a foolish question – she probably wasn’t thinking about him at all. Frankly, it was unlikely that Manilla Lovedirge IV spared any thought for anything but her own affairs, those petty, decadent disputes amongst the Glowing City’s skyscrapers and spotlights that defined the futures of millions less fortunate than her.
A wry smile twisted its way onto Tayl’s face at the thought of how trivial their lives must truly be. He’d lived on the darkened, grimy streets for most of his days, and spent more than a night or two creeping through the crystalline halls of the hyper-elite’s 22nd century palaces. Perhaps he didn’t know what it was like to live a real life – perhaps he’d never had a real friend, or slept in the same place more than two nights in a row. That being said, it didn’t take a genius to realize which life was more fulfilling, and he certainly didn’t think it was hers. After all, he was being paid 25,000 dollars by Ms. Lovedirge to dig up dirt on her ex, and that was the kind of job he could do in his sleep.
Did it really matter what the woman in charge of four percent of the entire city thought he was doing? Frankly, to Tayl, that question wasn’t even worth answering, and he had more important things to worry about, anyway. Like his lo mein.

“Son of a bitch,” he hissed, hand shooting out to stop his take-out dinner from blowing off the side of the building. He’d forgotten that the wind farms would be on tonight; howling vortices whipped their way out of the massive fans a half-mile away, assailing the top of the turbine housing where he was perched and threatening his precious dinner.
When the gust passed and Tayl was convinced he wasn’t about to drop a quarter pound of noodles onto some unfortunate pedestrian below, he grabbed the chopsticks and snagged another bite, eyes still glued to the screens floating inches above his arm. Neither his client nor his target had bothered to use effective passwords for their social media accounts; one of them was literally just “password” and the other was some string of adjectives that made him groan, like “jorgeguyrulez27”. All that was left to do was wait while the small server bank in his backpack chewed through thousands of posts, gleaning the most important information for his review. The sheer volume of data he had to process was probably the most impressive part of this job.
“Tah, all these quips, and nothing to say,” he mumbled, helping himself to another bite.

It took nearly 10 minutes for the program to finish, and by then, his noodles were but a distant memory. When the next gust came, Tayl didn’t try to stop it; the box and chopsticks went spiraling off the side of the building and down onto the street, nearly 175 feet below. He glanced after it, and then winced.
The static crept back into the corners of his mind – he reached into his pocket and grabbed another Adderall, tossing it back and chiding himself for not bringing the tasteless ones. The pill left a sickening sweetness in the back of his throat, but it brought his focus back, too.
His program returned a list of old messages, from when they’d first met up. It didn’t take him long to realize her ex-boyfriend had been seeing no less than two other girls when he introduced himself to her; a moment was all it took to compile the posts, and after a second more, they were sent off, and he was twenty-five thousand dollars richer. He moved to close the program… but then paused. He was already in, and – according to the post dates – the relationship had literally lasted less than a week. It couldn’t hurt to have a glance.

> omg im so happy I met this guy! He is LITERALLY the sweetest thing EVER!!!
< ikr, ur the best thing thats ever happened to me, love u babe!!!

Tayl physically cringed, and glanced at the next few messages. The content was mostly the same – gushing exaggerations, repetitive praise of the other party, and even a few messages that were just copied, pasted, and posted a second time. He scrolled through to the second day, saw more of the same, and was about to skip the third when something caught his eye.

> umm babe what do you think your doing? Im your girl, keep your eyes on ME hun, just cuz were at a party doesn’t mean you can talk to other girls

“Tah, you can’t be serious,” Tayl said with a disbelieving laugh. “You messaged him 200 times a day for three whole days, and didn’t see this coming?” He checked how Lovedirge’s then-suitor had reacted to the posts; as far as Tayl could tell, he’d either ignored them or hadn’t seen them. What came next, though, was nothing short of incredible:

< love u babe @therealjennagray
< babe honey calm down, let’s talk alrite???

At that, he burst out laughing. Five days in and it was done, just like that. Tayl shook his head and stood up with a grin, twisting this way and that to loosen the stiffness in his back. He strode back over to the service hatch he’d come by, climbed down to the ladder, and then, on a whim, checked Lovedirge’s feed to see her recent messages.

> omg just found the PERFECT guy, this one’s for real, I know it!!

He just shook his head and smiled wryly.
“No, hun,” he said, “you had it right the first time – you really are all the same.”
Prompt #7 for Flash-Fic-Month, and 5 minutes before the deadline, too!
1) You must write a love story, but the lovers can't be directly involved in the story itself. Fun fact, I was originally going to write a story about a tree that had a heart carved into it.
2) Include a narrative leap. Lampshaded this one; after I started writing, I just really liked the pace everything was moving at i didn't forget this part of the challenge what so I just put the time-skip in the posts. 

starting these 30 minutes before the deadline got me like OMG MOAR POEMS! 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Please respect the rights of any artists whose content is featured here, and don't let Tayl see your social media posts, he WILL laugh at you!
© 2017 - 2021 OnLinedPaper
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MissAddledMiss's avatar
I think you do a marvelous job with putting us in a cyberpunk setting. The details you managed to include about the world are astounding especially the glass skyscrapers and the wind vortices.

I also really like the main character of the piece. There's something about his attitude that's really charming and I was right there with him as he cringed at those gushy social media quotes about love. It's no wonder the relationship didn't last long.

Congratulation on the DD!
OnLinedPaper's avatar
Thank you so much! This was a lot of fun to write, and I'm really glad the details came off the way I was hoping they would!
Both the main character and the setting he's in have undergone major changes in recent times; I was testing the waters with this one, and it seems I'm on the right track. Thank you for reading! :)

I can 100% relate to his reactions, too; I was cringing myself when I wrote that part XD
whitefeatherrain's avatar
Congrats on the DD! :la:
OnLinedPaper's avatar
aaa, thank you so much! I wasn't expecting this! At first I thought it was an April Fool's prank, haha, but I'l really honored to have received it!
whitefeatherrain's avatar
squanpie's avatar
Haha, yeah the sad thing is that sort of relationship isn't too far fetched at all.

I like your detective bloke and his roof hopping lifestyle - though I'm getting a bit worried about his drug habit in relation to his chosen hangouts...

Also, the name 'Lovedirge' :lmao:
OnLinedPaper's avatar
Thank you on all counts! I wish I could say the relationship is as made-up as the rest of the story, but alas, they're far too real in middle schools :XD:
Ass for Tayl's habits, they may in deed not be the healthiest. What did you mean by "in relation to his chosen hangouts"? I must have missed something there.
sounds like a love song played badly at a funeral 
squanpie's avatar
It's all that hanging about in high up places I'm getting concerned about... :noes:
OnLinedPaper's avatar
Oh - well, when you're breaking into people's twitter accounts or government databases you don't want to be anywhere people can see you ;)
MercenaryBlade's avatar
Haha, very nice. I lovethe cyberpunk/Noire mishmash with an anthro like character as the protagonist.

Hoo boy that girl is a diva, unfortunately she is all too eal there are certainly people like her. So shallow. Well done stuff. 
OnLinedPaper's avatar
Thank you, it's a lot of fun to write about him! I've got a few new stories for him in the works, but they seem to be sporadic at best. Suits his nature XD
MercenaryBlade's avatar
I see, look forward to them
GDeyke's avatar
Twitter detective, eh? :XD: I like how you've kept the atmosphere of stereotypical detective fiction - darkened, grimy streets and all - even though he could be doing this anywhere.
OnLinedPaper's avatar
Thank you! The environment was fun to write, and I've been putting a lot of work into the world he lives in!
Domaex's avatar
To say it was 30 minutes before the deadline it's really good! I like Tayl's personality!
OnLinedPaper's avatar
Thank you for reading! His personality's still a work in progress, actually, but with every story I'm getting closer and closer! the sad thing is i tell myself i won't wait 'till the deadline for the next story, but i probably will anyway XD
Domaex's avatar
It's ok! I'm currently in a spot of deadline rushing myself!
OnLinedPaper's avatar
You can do it!! I believe in you! :D
Domaex's avatar
I did it! Now on to the next!
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