from Tales of the Internet

A. The Story of Hersh

I had a round-shouldered, slightly tubby sidekick nicknamed Hersh (because of his addiction to chocolate bars), that trolled the gay bars with me when we didn’t feel like being alone. As soon as one of us met someone interesting, the other split to make space for the newcomer. Hersh wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed so I ended up with a date more often than he did.

On one particular night, Hersh was a happy camper. He said he had enjoyed a great online conversation for several weeks with a guy who had come to town for business, and he was going to meet him that night. They had exchanged fotos and the guy was Hersh’s dream man. He slapped me on the shoulder and departed with a big grin on his face, backing away with thumbs pointed to his chest. “Tonight is about me, Still…all me. Hooray.”

I looked around and found myself the only single man sitting in an almost empty bar, so I paid my tab and headed home to get in bed with a good book. But, after a few chapters, I became restless and went online to see if anyone interesting was in a chatroom. I moved from site to site until I tripped across a fellow sitting alone in a local hotel room, bored to death. He, too, had been out to the bars and found them quiet.

We talked for a while and realized we had several things in common. Similar heights, weights, close in age, and interests in classical music and old movies.

“Hell, Chad,” I typed to him, “the night is young and your hotel is only twenty minutes away. How about I come over for a nightcap and we can chat in person.”

“Great,” he typed back. “I came here hoping to meet a guy like you, and I’m frustrated enough to have a blind date. If we don’t hit it off, at least we can talk.”

A half hour later, I knocked on the door of room 514 at the downtown Marriott.

“Who is it?”

“Still Young. Your blind date for tonight.”

A very attractive man, who looked liked me, opened the door and exclaimed. “Holy shit!”

I jumped back. “Why do you say that?”

“You’re the guy I expected to meet tonight.” He shook my hand and pulled me into the room.

“How so? We’ve never talked.”

“Can’t prove that by me. I’ve been carrying on a sexy conversation with you for three months, or at least with someone who sent me your pictures.”

Over a couple of Wild Turkeys, Chad told me a dumpy fellow had come to the room three hours ago and said he was his correspondent.

“Hey Chad,” the guy had the nerve to say to him, “you look just like your picture. I’m Hersh.”

He held out his hand and tried to come in but Chad blocked the door.

“Well, you don’t look like yours,” he said. “Where do you get off sending me somebody else’s picture?”

“Listen, man, it was like a joke. I’m a great guy, but I don’t have so much luck sending out my own face, so I tried my friend’s.”

Chad was enraged. “I bought a plane ticket to meet you, and you’re a fraud. What a fucking waste of time and money. Get the hell outta here.” He slammed the door.

Hersh knocked and pleaded, “C’mon man. We can salvage this thing. I’m great in bed.”

Through the door, Chad told Hersh to fuck off in no uncertain terms.

To me, he said, “Can you believe that asshole, Still? Selfish and stupid. But all’s well that ends well, I guess.” He raised his glass. “This is some coincidence.”

“Not so much, actually,” I said. “Hersh is a friend of mine. I had no idea he was using my picture, but I guarantee he’ll never do it again.”

“How can you guarantee that?”

“By giving him what he wants in exchange for his word.”

“And what is that?” Chad asked.

“Well, clearly from the looks of you—and how much you look like me—to have sex with me.”

“Does that saggy jerk appeal to you? I’ll bet you can have anybody you want?

“Not much, but I hate to let a friend suffer.”

“Can’t you see that I’m suffering?”

I grinned. “Sure, that’s why I’m delaying things, Chad. I’m warming you up because I want you hot.”

He leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “I was born hot.”

Having sex with a guy who looks enough like you to make you think you’re having sex with yourself is interesting. I imagine it’s something like identical twins screwing each other. You do to him what you want someone to do to you, and hope it works for him as well.

I played top and we orgasmed together; then we reversed positions and erupted simultaneously again. We were like mirror images. Chad and I collapsed with laughter because we both thought playing with each other was like self-masturbation, and quickly came to the conclusion that it’s not as exciting to have sex with yourself as with somebody new and different. Nevertheless, we played all weekend and I ended up driving him to the airport.

*   *   *

“Hey,” Albert said, holding up his hand. “You can’t stop there. What did you do about Hersh?”

“What you’d expect. I told him I was flattered, but it was a mortal blow to our friendship; he had lost my trust. I tried to explain what Chad felt, but I didn’t get anywhere. Hersh was focused on the great time they could have had if Chad hadn’t been such a hardass. He just didn’t get it.”

“That’s a shame.”

“The real shame was that Hersh clearly was trying to meet someone like me on the net. That put a strain on our relationship because I had never thought of him as a lover.

“But I kept my bargain. He promised never to use my pics again and I punished his ass for a sweat-drenched two hours. He was satisfied because he got exactly what he always wanted.”

“It’s a great way to learn a lesson.”

“This story had a happy ending. Some meetings on the net end in disaster. I know one shy guy who represented himself fairly, but when he arrived at the house of the fellow he came to meet, the bastard said he wasn’t interested after seeing him in person, and wouldn’t let him in.

“The poor guy was stuck with the airfare, and so depressed that he moped in his hotel room until it was time to fly home two days later. Lesson learned. You don’t let things like that happen twice.”

“People can be such insensitive asses,” Albert said. His eyes brightened. “Here come our appetizers. Perfectly timed. Have you got a story to go with a first course?”

“I never run out. As long as men behave selfishly, without regard for the effect their actions have on others, there’ll always be another tale. Try this one on for size. The Case of the Mendacious Filipino.”