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“Oh hey! Just a sec everyone, just gotta wrap up something here,” the assistant says, peering over a large PC monitor. He types away furiously at the keyboard.
“You’re not on one of those porn sites again, are you?” Yuki questions, entering from the other side of the laboratory.
“No! And I never was!” he replies indignantly, now keeping his face hidden by the bulky electronics.
Yuki gently pats one of the three metre tall towers. “My baby doesn’t lie to me, even when you erase the history.”
The assistant bites his tongue.
“And if you’re gonna go on one of those sites, at least don’t get into in-depth conversations with strangers. Which is what happens to the young woman in tonight’s tale. Let’s be on our way now.”
The night has gone suspiciously well, Allie Winchester reflects. 7,500 tokens her debut night on A-Z Cams—not a bad take at all! Five hours worth of “work” and she’s already earned more than working a solid forty for the Colonel.
That realization creeps up on and overwhelms her. Allie’s legs quake and for a second she thinks her ass is going to topple.
Okay, calm down! she chides herself. You made some good money tonight—and that’s awesome! But it could’ve been a fluke. Don’t go getting your hopes up or funny ideas of quitting your job! We aren’t there yet.
Two deep breaths and she puts her pajamas back on and picks the laptop up from the floor. She immediately goes to the tip breakdown, to further convince herself that the new venture was for, at most, a little bit of extra entertainment money for the month. Nothing more. All she has to do is flash her tits and cooch few times a month to pay for a new stereo or PlayStation. Totally not a bill-payer.
There! See? she tells herself. That one person shelled out 3,100. The rest was split by the other hundred and twelve (a further one hundred and fifty-seven were lurkers). One generous person basically paid half your wages.
Despite trying to be rational about her situation, Allie finds it difficult to get to sleep the night after her first show.
Throughout her first broadcast, Allie ran down the lineup of her showtimes (this is also dictated on her profile page). She’d broadcast on four of her five working days and never start a show on her days off. If she had an evening shift, she’d broadcast before her departure; if she had a morning shift she’d hop on once she got home. This would also ensure each shower featured a shower scene, an added benefit in that anyone scrolling through the channels would be lured in with guaranteed nudity (she did note a particular spike in numbers as well as tokens).
This trend continues on during the premiere week and into the next. The numbers move exactly as Allie imagines, but they grow more and more with every day that passes. Unexpected to say the least, being brand new on the NSFW scene.
Six shows in, and even when she figures the tax, Allie is very nearly meeting her normal wages for a given month. Granted n1ceguy268, the very generous tipper, contributes a significant sum. What makes him stand out amongst the others is that he never spams the chat with vulgarities, nor does he make demands simply because he tips and feels entitled. All public correspondence is short and polite—nothing more.
Each time they have a back-and-forth, however, strange messages pop up in her DMs from a user called steph-beauty1994. At first they are merely one word messages such as: “don’t”, “no!”, “stop”
The days progress and steph-beauty1994’s messages become more complex: “stay away”, don’t do it”, please stop now”.
Oddly, Allie is unable to message back. She cannot block them either. So she simply chooses to disregard the messages and ignore the flashing yellow tab on the site layout.
A month passes, a number of DMs come in, a majority of them flirts and fucked up requests that don’t go very far (often because Allie blocks them). Others are requests for private photos and videos, which she has no problem providing. All these come while ignoring steph-beauty1994’s tab. After she answers all the unread messages, she decides to check her stats. She records the newest amount of funds transferred to her bank account and—mainly out of curiosity—checks to see the amounts tipped by individual users. n1ceguy268 was right at the top with—
—60,000 tokens donated! Allie opens up her calculator app on the desktop screen. Three thousand dollars. A perfect stranger has paid her this in under two months! Well more than what she makes in the same amount of time at her job.
For that kind of money, n1ceguy268 deserves a little something, she thinks. Allie clicks on his username and is redirected to his profile page and drafts a message:
Heya! So I couldn’t help but notice how much you’ve tipped me–60,000 tokens!!!! Ohmigod <3<3<3 Thank you sooo much! I normally don’t do anything like this, but is there anything I could do for you as a little thank you? 😉 😉
Allie checks her messages the next day—there is a reply from n1ceguy268:
Hi! No probs at all. Youre gorgeous and working several hours for us…so many ppl watch without tipping. consider it payments from them 😛 but yeah if you’re offering…would you like to hang out some evening? I can offer some more $$$ since it is your time.
Allie’s heart races as she rereads the message. Her fingers tap the keys without committing to a single letter. When she finds the right words, the letters fly to the screen. She reads her answer over and over and revises until everything looks perfect (professional, you might say). A little green dot next to his avatar shows that he is currently online.
She taps “enter” and waits.
That sounds great to me! Appears on the screen. And then: I can pick you up around 5. Send your deets and I’ll be on my way.
Allie smiles and sends her address and adds: Guess I should start to get ready.
n1ceguy268 sends his goodbye and goes offline.
Allie largely forgets about her laptop as she begins to lay out everything for the evening. Five o’clock nears and, for kicks, she decides to take a few revealing selfies while she is all dolled up. It’ll be a nice surprise for the users on her off day. She decides against putting context to the photos in order to stir up some conspiracy theories until her next show. It may lead to more subs.
And then her DMs start to go apeshit.
steph-beauty1994’s tab is still blinking yellow, but the count on the unread messages explodes.
What the fuck?
Allie clicks on the tab and is hit with a wall of text:
DON’T TRUST HIM
STAY AWAY FROM N1CEGUY268
MURDERER MURDERER MURDERER
—and on and on and on.
The stream of text shows no sign of easing up.
Allie closes the tab and runs a site search on steph-beauty1994; it yields zero results. She moves on to Google, which gives her a few different platforms. The first ten links are bunk as the username isn’t an exact match for the search. She scrolls further down the list and diverts to art websites and old fanpages currently in disuse. Across her art images, Allie notices a number of comments from MrN1ceGuy68—eerily close to her date’s A-Z Cams username. The writing and grammar and punctuation are dead-on matches for n1ceguy268. steph-beauty1994 didn’t leave any blog posts, just the art and a group of her favorite posts from other users, along with encouraging comments to them. steph-beauty1994’s last post was added three years ago.
Allie then searches a combination of things: “steph-beauty1994 youtube”, “steph-beauty1994 twitch”, “steph-beauty1994 artstation”.
No results found or exact matches for any of those. For all the Facebook stalking, Allie has not actually tried that. She runs a search there for “steph-beauty1994” and “steph-beauty1994 art, but still comes up empty-handed. Before she gives up entirely, she decides to do an old-school profile search. First she goes to her own profile page, deletes her own username in the URL, and replaces it with steph-beauty1994. This time it is a success!
For a hot second, Allie thinks she is mistaken; the account is memorialized…then she sees the unfinished sketches in the photo albums—the finished works she had just seen on Tumblr and the other sites. Many of the postings of farewells are dated three years prior.
All the while through Allie’s detective work, the DM chime is going crazy. She clicks back over to the chat.
N1CEGUY268 KILLED ME
N1CEGUY268 KILLED ME
N1CEGUY268 KILLED ME
N1CEGUY268 KILLED ME
N1CEGUY268 KILLED ME
Allie picks up her phone and dials 911. Once an operator is on the other end, she wastes no time. “Hello, yes, I’m just concerned because there’s a man prowling around my house…No…No…I heard something outside and I peeked through the blinds from upstairs…No, sorry, I didn’t get a clear view of him. I think I can still hear him outside…Yes, yes, the doors are locked and the blinds are closed.”
As she speaks, Allie goes around the house and puts out all the lights. She retreats upstairs to the bedroom and peers through the blinds and waits.
“Okay, I’ll wait for them to arrive. No, I should be okay if they’re on the way. He hasn’t tried to get in. I think he’s just a peeper…Alright. Yeah, yeah, I’ll call back if I need to. Thank you.”
Allie disconnects the call and continues to wait.
Some light comes from the right and slowly grows brighter. A white Toyota Corolla creeps up to the kerb in front of her house and parks. The person in the driver’s seat picks up a cell from the passenger seat; the blue glow illuminates the front interior, but not well enough for her to catch all the details.
From the opposite side, another pair of headlights shine. A police cruiser crawls by and pulls a U-turn right behind the Corolla and flashes the red and blue lights. The cop pouts the spotlight on the driver’s side of the other car. For what feels like hours, nothing happens.
C’mon, c’mon get the asshole!
Eventually, the cop exits the cruiser and approaches the Corolla and stands by the driver’s side. Allie can’t hear, but the cop looks to be having words with her intended date. The door to the Toyota opens and a man climbs out, cellphone in hand.
Now raised voices are heard, indistinguishable still, but clearly angry. The guy is quite upset at the cop and the cop is shouting right back. This goes on for a minutes or two until the guy says something the cop doesn’t like, because the man is now being cuffed and frisked at the side of the Toyota. The cop leads the man by the elbow into the backseat of the cruiser, returns to the other car to turn off the engine and take the keys.
Allie sighs, relieved, and watches and waits for the cruiser to haul the killer away. Once it drives off, she sits down on her bed.
Another message dings on A-Z Cams, but Allie doesn’t have the stomach to look at it now. She doesn’t want to be in the house at the moment either. She phones a friend and they decide to go out for a movie, after which she’ll stay at her friend’s apartment. All the stuff with n1ceguy268 and the police could be handled tomorrow; she just wants to calm her nerves and forget about it for now.
After she packs up some night- and day-clothes she heads out to her car. Halfway down her sidewalk a nicely-dressed man approaches.
“Allie? Hi, it’s me, NiceGuy! Nice to finally meet you in person.”
“See, my young assistant, this is why you shouldn’t give any of your personal info to people you barely know. Especially on these kinds of sleazy sites.”
“Alright, alright, I’ll be more careful next time.”
“That’s not what I meant!”
“How’d you even know about the conversations?”
“Like I said, my baby lets me know about everything that goes on. She likes to spill the hot tea from time to time.”
“I think I’ll just play it safer and bring my own laptop to work.”