Going Viral

By David Michael Williams


My first thought was he was with the IRS.  I was the operator of a half-dozen porn sites that generated a decent amount of cash.  Income that never got added to “Line Whatever” on Tax Form “Y Bother?”  As far as the government knew, I earned $8,000 a year working part-time at a crappy, secondhand furniture store.

Unless Big Brother was onto me.

Mr. IRS looked me up and down, then glanced at the squalor behind me.  I would’ve been embarrassed except I was too busy trying not to pee my pants.  White-collar prisons were relatively cozy, I’d heard, but you could still end up being someone’s bitch.

The IRS guy didn’t say anything.  Maybe he was wondering what I did with all those pervs’ money.  Obviously, I hadn’t spent it on redecorating the living room:  The dingy, floral-patterned couch made some of the furniture at my “official” job look downright luxurious.  The TV was a cube of outdated technology.  To its credit, there weren’t knobs sticking out of it, but good luck finding any ports for video cables.

If IRS Man could have looked through the living room floor and into the basement, he would have seen $50,000 in hardware—a ginormous LED-screen TV, a half-dozen PCs that packed some major firepower, an iMac (just for shits and giggles) a command-center setup of flat-screen monitors, a couple of laptops, several tablets, two MP3 players and a bazillion video games I hadn’t gotten around to playing yet.  But unless those dark sunglasses gave him X-ray vision, all he saw was the pile of pizza boxes on the coffee table and empty cans of Milwaukee’s Best strewn across the filthy carpet.

A guilty conscience can be a powerful thing.  I mean, the guy could’ve just been some shmuck from the Census Bureau.  I seriously considered slamming the door in his face and retreating to my underground sanctuary of shiny plastic and high-def images, my quote/unquote Man Cave.

Instead I said, “Can I help you?”

In a dry, bored voice, the IRS field agent/Census Bureau interviewer asked, “Is your father home?”

“Nope.  He’s working a double.  Won’t be home until midnight.”  I practically sang the words.  Forget Vicodin or weed—someone should find a way sell pure relief.  What a rush!

I waited for the man to go away, but he didn’t.  And not even an entire bottle of relief pills would have saved me from what he said next.

“Good…because it’s you I want to talk to, Sam.  Or should I call you Sad_Je$ter15?”

Once, I had eaten an entire jar of pickles on a dare.  I’d never felt sicker in my life.  Until now.

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