'primate signal'
just over 9000 words
waiting on amazon to review it for kindle singles

Ch 4 – Massive

On a quiet Tuesday afternoon, Comer’s in-game avatar Booter had been pulled into a
scheme by another Halfling trader he knew well in the marketplace. Dukky was
mischievous and scheming, and Booter owed him a favor. The task was simple: Booter
was to call out to the zone that he was paying 15,000 platinum for a Sunderfury, one of
the best two-handed swords available to the Warrior class.

The price was high. Several whispers arrived offering to sell, but as per Dukky’s
instruction, Booter ignored them all. Suddenly, Jioan walked into the room and started
speaking immediately in an authoritarian tone. “It’s 2004, I think it’s time for you to
make a move to the real world.” Comer looked away from the screen, pointing his eyes
at the ground, mumbling “any aspect of the world is the real world.” He hadn’t used his
voice in a day or two. “Figure it out, get into college, whatever, just move out. You have
a month. You might not appreciate this now, but it’s for your own good.”

She left the small, plain room and Comerfocused back on the screen. Dukky was
sending him whispers rapidly. “Log off, LOG OFF!!” Comer logged Booter off, wondering
what was going on. He came back into the auction zone on an unknown, anonymous
character and sent a message to Dukky trying to figure out what he was up to. “I sold
the Sunderfury for 12,000 platinum! Hahaha. I paid 6,500 plat for it yesterday.” Comer
realized what had happened. His false bids had caused a market participant to expect to
be able to buy the sword from Dukky for 12k and flip it to Booter for 15. The going
market rate was around 10k, but because not many warriors used two-handed swords,
it could easily trade for less. Comer felt sick. He then did something completely
uncharacteristic: he switched off the computer by yanking out the power cord.

To be independent from his mother, Comer knew he would need money. But where
would he get it? What skills did he have to offer the real world? He thought about how
much enjoyment he got from trading items in Forever Quest and wondered if there was
a career that could take advantage of the skills he had developed in his years of solitude
playing the game.