“Dick head.” The man mumbled under his breath, pressing his small, chubby pointer finger against his space bar. With his other hand he reached for his cup. He gulped the once-carbonated sugar beverage and belched quietly. He pressed the space bar once again.

Across the room from him, a small roach climbed atop a full bag of garbage that had been taken from one side of the room to the other a week prior, but never fully moved to the dumpster outside the apartment. This bag was next to another bag of garbage that had been torn open and scattered about in the attempt to search for a lost Funko Pop figurine. The mess did not pose any immediate threat or create any major inconvenience to the man’s stagnant life, so it was not addressed, other than by the many insect guests. The small roach tousled his long antennae around and discovered a bit of pancake syrup at the opening of the bag that had not yet been consumed by his many brothers and sisters.

The man at the desk waited for the video chat window to load, watching the mist of pixels clear and reveal a face—feminine, in silhouette at least. He narrowed his eyes and leaned in, then once again muttered, “Dick head.” as the feminine face revealed itself as merely a slim man in a dark room. He pressed the space bar again, this time with his middle finger, emphatically flipping off the man. The next few faces were all male too, and he mumbled ‘dick head’ each time he clicked the space bar, activating the ‘Shuffle Chat’ option.

By his feet lay an array of used tissues, some hardened into yellow geodes, and large gallon jugs that once held natural spring water but now only contained the rich dark piss of a well-fed American. The roaches did not come near his feet, not out of fear, but out of respect for their landlord, who sat upon his rolling throne and desired not to be disturbed. Though late at night, just before the sun would rise, some would come out to feed on the many crumbs left behind after the long day’s work.

The man who called himself Harv adjusted his slouched posture to relieve some pressure on his intestines which were voicing their displeasure at the range of foodstuffs he had consumed that day—mostly chips and goldfish. It made the pressure worse, and with a grunt, he got up from his desk chair, momentarily leaving his trance-like state to massage his front torso from a standing position. He grabbed the front of his t-shirt covered belly, right below where the list of ‘Ten Reasons you should date an IT Guy’ ended comically with “We won’t just tell you to turn it off and on again, because we’ll keep you turned on all the time.” With his midsection in his hands, he squeezed and pushed, kneading the flesh gingerly, paying keen attention to the minute articulations made by the liquid and gas in his gut. After some seconds, the air was pushed out, whispering through his gray sweat pants like an ocean’s breeze.

Harv returned to his chair, swiveling around to look at the large desktop screen, particularly the smaller ChatShufflr window. Displayed on it was a young female, wide-eyed, chubby, and blonde, observing him curiously. He let out a dissatisfied groan and hit the space bar, turning the box with young woman’s face into the spinning LOADING icon. “Bad day for the chat.”

The next several minutes of shuffling brought him only lone men, and a few shots of parties where one of the party-goers was on the site. He had trained his reflexes after so many sessions of browsing ChatShufflr that he could usually tell before the video-stream even loaded if it was an acceptable female or yet another undesirable man or group. However, it did not stop him from mumbling ‘dick head’ quickly as he pressed the spacebar.

Though he and almost every single one of those men were on this website searching for the same thing—attractive females from whom a request would be made, a request for tits—he felt no solidarity with any of them. This was a zero-sum game; there was a limited amount of adequate tits out there, and not enough to go around. Had he been successful in this search in the past? No. But this fact had not dissuaded him in the slightest. He was a fighter.

His glance wandered to the video box above the STRANGER box and he saw himself. His greasy, short-cropped blond hair looked good today, despite the fact that he had not showered—there was usually a sweet spot the day or two after not showering when it looked better than on a day when he did shower. His face also looked quite good with the moist, pallid skin of his cheeks handsomely catching the light of his large monitor. He took a screenshot of his USER video box, cropped it down to retain only the pixelated camera footage of himself in his chair, and saved it in one of the many folders on his desktop in case he needed a profile picture for a forum or a site he might join in the future.

When he flipped back to ChatShufflr the STRANGER box contained the torso of a man beating away at his penis. Harv closed the window quickly. He could have just hit ‘next’ but after hours of ChatShufflr-ing he figured it was time to be more productive.

He checked his bank account.

  • Checking: $685.41
  • Savings: $17.10
  • Total balance $702.51

It was enough to get him through that month’s rent, and even some of the next month’s, but it left next to nothing for other purchases which made life bearable living paycheck to paycheck. Not that he was receiving anything quite as concrete as a paycheck. Harv’s main source of income was passive in nature, it had nothing to do with hourly work, he collected a fraction of a cent each time someone clicked on an ad on one of his blogs. In order to make a decent profit, he had to update and maintain over 40 different blogs, and also be advertising his blogs around the web. At times, it landed him a hefty reward from the Ad Companies.

He logged onto his AdBuzz account and checked his revenue.

4,330 new clicks today. This translated to 35 or so dollars of cold hard cash. That was pretty good, more than the last time he checked. The boost was probably from the flurry of comments he had recently left on several YouTube videos, all linking to his most popular blog: The Art of Sculpting, a Guide.

Productivity over.

He changed the window to his Facebook, where his friend count dwindled, but the interesting articles and relatable meme pages which appeared on his feed kept him coming back for more. He clicked on several links, opening them up in new tabs to be read or perused through later. 12 things he didn’t know about the cast of the Big Bang Theory. 10 web-slinging fantheories about the extended Spiderman universe he couldn’t miss. He continued scrolling down the never-ending page, occasionally seeing updates from his Uncle or an old high-school acquaintance.

As he went, the new tab bars grew across the top of the browser window, compressing the tabs until they could no longer be differentiated from each other. One link he scrolled past caught his keen eyes in a particular way.

It was for JoocyBabes.

In the logo, the two ‘O’s were replaced with a luscious pair of breasts.

He licked his lips, wiggled his stout fingers, and clicked the link, simultaneously reaching for the plastic Long John Silver’s cup he had filled with RC Cola some hours ago. He knocked the cup over then yelped in surprise, standing up and hurriedly looking for paper towels. He grabbed a dirty shirt and wiped up the mess, knocking an Iron Man bobble head over in the process. The webpage had loaded, and as he wiped up the spilled beverage, feminine moans and electronic music played from his desktop speakers.


This is an excerpt from Goddel M. Robert’s new novel, Harv and the Big Collapse. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.