My Dearest, My Long Lost {VR user}:KPOPFLOWERGRL, PLEASE READ

By Dennis Scott Herbert


We met among the Peruvian village people. You were wearing green cargo pants w/ utility belt and you were so fucking virtual you were real life. I said I would never remove my goggles and I said I would never leave my closet. And you said, “Thank God.” But maybe you meant science.

When I told you that we could live like that forever I wasn’t thinking about the roast beef dinner or the fifteen minutes it had left in the oven or the 11&12 year-old Mid-Atlantic Duck Pin Bowling Championship my son had the next morning.

I’m sorry I had to leave.

I’ve returned to the same bank below the waterfall looking for you. Last week, I even wandered deep into the {UNPROTECTED CONTENT} of the remote jungle looking for you. Hoping for a glimpse of one braided pigtail, a flash of bare midriff. But you were nowhere; only digital dark panthers and enormous spiders.

When nightfall came and the canopy of thick leaves blackened, I heard the tribes of wild users whooping and shouting out, tracking me. KPOPFLOWERGRL, they were hunting me. The most dangerous game. I went looking for you and they found me with their sharpened sticks and burning torches.

The leader of the wild user tribe said to me, “You do not belong here.”

I said, “But…but –”

“You will be eliminated,” he said. And all the wild users yipped and yelled from behind their skull masks. They grabbed me, held me down, and tied me, my limbs drawn to thick jungle tree trunks.

The wild users encircled me and chanted, inhaling spiral smoke from a purple fire.

“Never return,” the leader said and they removed me from Jungle World. At first, they poked me only hard enough to draw blood. Then harder and harder until their spears punctured my abdomen and thighs.

As I faded away, KPOPFLOWERGRL, beyond the pain, a luminous glow peaked through the leaved canopy and I saw the dimples of your cheeks in that pixilated moon.

Now I sit here, still damp from a lukewarm shower (really need to fix the heater – but am dedicating all funds to a new {VRmembership}) and I can’t help but wish to see you once more. While shivering in that water, K, I imagined feeling the humid, tropical air with a sorbet sunset glowing, I imagined putting a hibiscus behind your ear and sharing a long kiss. What will happen to our world? What we started?



Dennis Scott Herbert is dangerous. He is a graduate of Mankato’s MFA program and winner of the Toy Wilson Blethen Fine Arts award. His writing was recently featured on Fear No Lit’s Show Your Work podcast and has appeared in Paper Darts, Squalorly, the Minnesota Review, Smokelong Quarterly, and Hobart among others. He currently lives and writes in Lancaster, PA.

Digital Image by Lesley C. Weston

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