Determination is typically considered a worthwhile personality trait to have in life. Paired with qualities such as dedication and persistence, it is an essential part of a person who is actually likely to get what they want in life. Like many things, too much is generally considered a bad thing, especially when grouped with ambition and confidence. Nevertheless, a lack of any of these things is also considered to be a very bad thing. Finding a good balance in life is difficult. Moreover, whatever you decide, you can never make a friend of everybody, so you’re going to get insults whether you’re serious, laid back, or even right in the middle.
These facts are facts of life, not of the internet. As we are aware, in the modern world, the internet is king, so problems may arise. Determination on the internet is still a plus, but the traits that usually come with it somehow lose worth. Being persistent on the internet is about the same as being persistent at declaring undying love for a woman who just broke up with you after both dating and knowing you for seven hours. It’s about as intelligent as sitting in jelly with a pacifier in your mouth after inviting your father to come and visit.
Why is this? Well, it’s rather simple really. The internet can be turned on and off, and, with that, all friendships can be severed. Life is constant. The people there are there if you need them, whereas people online can’t actually give you a hug. People in life can share donuts and chips with you, whereas people online can’t even see that you’re eating. When comparing sex to cyber sexual activity, which do you think wins?
Moving on to ambition, which is likely the best example, nobody online seems willing to admit to ambition. On a website such as Ultimate-Guitar, this is rather easy to see. Those that break the rules intentionally are angry, mocking people who, upon being caught, complain that people are too serious and should be completely and totally uncaring and in no way ambitious or dedicated. The same people, when their beloved Pit is spammed to hell with pears, pineapples and other extremely confused fruits, complain that the management is too lax and not doing enough to ensure that they themselves have the best possible time available. When there is no trouble to speak of, the more serious and the more lax are generally subjects of conversation from people who are either one way or the other. Those that are not mocked are simply those who are rarely seen taking action.
To aspire to maintain authority is generally considered ambitious, and, with that, uncool. Of course, to be uncool on an internet forum is something that people would rather die that achieve, especially those who have spent years attaching millimetre after painful millimetre to their e-penis. When trying to advertise your music in life, you would send out demos and play gigs. Online, you simply put your music somewhere like MySpace or Ultimate-Guitar itself and leave it there in the hope that, one day, you’ll be discovered. Yet, they still laugh at the eighteen year old girls who move to Hollywood and spend the rest of their lives as waitresses in the hope that they might be noticed and become an actress. This is often mocked, but it is a choice of ambition nonetheless.
If you are ambitious in life, then you do not necessarily have to be ambitious online. With the internet, you can cut and paste whatever personality traits you would like into your character, becoming an amalgamation of whatever personal architectural design you have prepared for yourself. Often, it isn’t even intentional. It is a sad, but unavoidable fact that anybody that you meet online will not be exactly the same in person, no matter how similar they may be. As such, people that you talk to online can disappoint, or even pleasantly surprise.
Two people had met on Ultimate-Guitar and, because of this, started a relationship. Unfortunately, neither of them had fallen for the reality, but had instead fallen for the image of each other than the internet had provided. For one party of the relationship, this was a good thing, for the reality had proven much more impressive than he could ever imagine. For the other, disappointment was the word of the day. Things had not gone perfectly, and the musical aid that he had offered to provide was not of a quality that she needed. Having to teach him to play first had been gruelling and nothing short of annoying.
All in all, Jane Moon felt as though things were running out of steam for Henry Jones. He was working hard, but getting no results for her. In order to maintain her dedication to her music, he simply had to go. In this, she was determined. The music was most important.
Waking up was far from Jane’s favourite part of the day, but lately it had become more of a trial of patience and annoyance. Since about a fortnight previous, Henry had begun to get very clingy and possessive of her, which was a change that she did not enjoy. Even now, she was waking up to find that he was close against her back and with an arm wrapped around her. It felt quite suffocating.
His sense of style seemed to be drying up as well. Previously, he would have turned up randomly at one of her shows with a pocketful of money to burn on some fancy dinner or, if she felt the need, a large amount of alcohol. Sometimes, again, quite randomly, he would turn up with some small gift for her. The first time it was a pair of earrings with guitars on them, the next it was a pick with a crescent moon, which she still used when she would wake up here in a morning. Lately, he had bought her absolutely nothing. Jane had tried to bring up the point, but Henry seemed to have forgotten that he had ever even bought anything.
Henry wanted to spend much more time with her, but far less time out of the house. His sleeping pattern had also seemingly changed quite a lot. He would come to bed late, usually after several hours of sitting in his living room watching whatever junk was on TV. In the morning, she would escape his grasp, shower and be out of the house well before he woke up. In all honesty, and though she never admitted it to him, she was finding him more and more boring as the time went on.
Today was not a work day. Jane hadn’t planned to be here, but she had found herself receiving messages from Henry only a few minutes after she had stopped playing her acoustic show. By the look of it, he had learned her schedule very well. Whereas previously she would likely find that romantic, Jane found it nothing short of creepy considering his actions lately. She had come to see him under his insistence and the possible chance of doing some more work on her music. Unfortunately, he had been in no mood to play, no mood to talk and, even when she was desperate for something to do, no mood for sex. It seemed as though there was nothing that he wanted to do short of be in her company. It was quite infuriating.
The time at which she had reached enough boredom to crave sleep meant that it was still fairly early when she woke up. There was no light fighting to break through the curtains yet. Jane pushed herself free of Henry’s hold and rolled out of the bed to stand in nothing but her underwear, wondering what to do next. She watched Henry for a moment as he curled into a tighter, sad looking ball, then cast her eyes around in search of her pick. She always enjoyed a little music when she first woke up, and today she felt like she needed it.
Jane didn’t bother getting dressed; the house was always far too warm for it to be worth it. Instead, she moved silently out of the room and went into the living room where her guitar was waiting for her. This would be exactly what she needed. To touch those strings was to vent any feelings that she had, and the very sounds that came out let her know exactly how she was feeling. Today, her instrument told her that she was angry; very, very angry.
She paused with a sigh, her focus falling on to her purse that she had left on Henry’s living room table. The urge to chase up Chris, her ex-boyfriend and go-to guy for recording sessions, had struck her quite suddenly. With things on such a rapid decline, Jane had no interest in making the entire relationship out to be an entire waste of time. She had spent a lot of nights and done a lot of work dragging Henry, at times kicking and screaming, up to scratch. Time was running out, and at least one recording had to be done for any of it to be worthwhile.
Jane scrambled through her purse to pull out her mobile phone. It was still early. Her on-screen display told her that it was just coming up to seven ‘o’ clock in the morning, but at no point did she even consider that she might wake Chris up. He had called her at some very random times in the night before now; payback would give her much pleasure.
The phone only reached two rings before he picked it up on the other end. “Chris Marsh,” he said in his deep and monotone voice. This was his usual opener; he didn’t even bother looking at his phone more often than not.
“Hey Chris,” Jane began, suddenly and quite uncomfortably aware that she was calling her ex while sat in the living room of her current boyfriend and wearing nothing other than black knickers and a flowery push-up bra. “I just thought I’d call up and see about sorting some time out in your studio when you’re actually there this time.”
While she waited for a reply, Jane shifted her phone so that it was sandwiched between her ear and her shoulder. This left both hands available so that she could continue pushing down on her strings lightly, but firmly. Her fingers danced over them, the little pick in her hand hitting each chosen target as effortlessly as could possibly be done. She could hear Chris breathing on the other side, as well as the sounds of his fingers typing rapidly on something or another. He would be at his desk, as per usual. A memory washed over her mind of having sex on that desk, but she refused it as quickly as possible.
“Y’alright Moony?” he inquired purely rhetorically. She paused her play while she waited for him to continue, but he seemed to pause at the same time, which was more than slightly annoying. Growing tired of the patience, Jane began to stroke and slide down her neck, which seemed to be exactly the cue that Chris had been waiting on to continue. “I ain’t got that many opening’s Moony, but you know there’s always something wide open when me and you get together. How big a slot you looking’ for?”
Every word that came out of his mind served as an unending reminder of all of the things that she had despised about him, but he was in a good position to help her, as always. “I just need to wander down and lay down a couple of tracks,” Jane told him simply. “It’s pretty much exactly what I wanted to get done last time. There’s only four tracks that need doing: guitar, bass, drums and vocals. You’ve got the amplifiers and the drum kit, and the recording studio of course. If you could maybe supply some drums then we could get it all done quite quickly really. Henry and I would just come down and we would lay down everything but the vocals. We can get to those later.”
“Who’s ’Enry?” inquired Chris, ignoring almost everything else that Jane had told him. Even his typing had stilled itself. This was a common trait when it came to trying to communicate with Chris. At some later point she would likely have to repeat herself or risk turning up at the studio with Henry to see a Chris Marsh who had absolutely no idea why they were there.
“Henry’s my bassist,” she told him quickly. She gave out no more information, deciding to leave it there and keep Chris from becoming jealous, as he typically did. “We want to come down and start off a recording. We can pay you for it; Henry’s got a decent job behind him. All we have to do is come down and play some stuff. Is that alright?”
“Well, this is a busy place, you know? Heavin’ sometimes. In fact, it’s so busy so much of the time that I can’t say for sure what slot’s going to be open,” Chris pointed out. Jane noted easily how he continuously felt the need to reinforce his point. It was extremely obvious that she was being lied to. She could feel her eyes narrowing at the very thought of it. “So, you know, there’s not that much I can offer,” Chris continued. His typing resumed and his speech slowed to match the pace of it. “I’ve brought up my little calendar, and we have some big names comin’ in to use the place. I know we have a history and everythin’, but that doesn’t mean I can just give my time away. That would be right stupid, wouldn’t it? I’ve got to look after all of my clients. I’m sure we can come to some arrangement though, yeah?”
“What did you have in mind?” asked Jane, though she was sure that she already knew the answer. She could almost hear the twisted smile that he would undoubtedly be sporting right now.
“Well, my calendar’s all booked up,” Chris began slowly. “The only time that I really have free is early in the mornin’. I mean like right now.”
“Don’t be stupid. I can’t come now. I’ve just woken up and I’m practically naked,” she told him, and near instantly regretted it. The less time Chris spend thinking about her naked body, the better. “Besides, it would end up being only me. I can’t wake Henry up at this time and drag him down. He barely gets any sleep as it is. He’s the one with the car too. How am I supposed to get down there?”
“Get the bloody bus like everybody else who doesn’t have rich friends,” he told her with a laugh. “Just get the guitar and the bass and come on down here. I’ll meet you at the stop and I’ll play your damned drums for you. We’ll get it done in no time and you don’t even have to bother this Henry guy. Alright? It’s not a rough plan, is it? It’s easy. Just come and get your song done and I’ll even give you a discount. I’m sure you can get him to pay later, right?”
“Alright, but if you piss me off, I’m out. I’ll see you in about half an hour.”
“Okay Moony, dress pretty,” he concluded with a laugh before hanging up on her. She dropped her phone back into her purse in disgust and got up quickly, dropping her guitar onto the sofa behind her as she did. Jane could feel the tickle of Maxie’s tail on her bare legs, but she brushed the animal away. It had been her mother’s cat originally, which she had then given to Jane, who actually despised the thing, so she marched away from the creature as quickly as possible and slipped back into Henry’s bedroom.
She dressed quickly, without so much as looking in his direction. His bass guitar was on a stand in the living room, so Jane didn’t really need anything else, but she didn’t leave until she had found Henry’s discarded trousers and knelt down beside them. In the back pocket, where she deftly slipped her fingers, she found his wallet and, upon opening it, found only about thirty pounds in it. Annoyed that she might have to pay for the recordings herself, she slipped the money into her purse anyway, just in case she needed it.
Jane felt absolutely filthy. Her head was swimming, her eyes were blurred, and the sun was only just lifting towards the top of the sky. She could just about focus her attention on it through the window of the studio office. She was alone now. Chris had left her there alone, unconscious from the alcohol that he had been plying her with since she arrived. Something had been wrong about the last few drinks that she had been given, and exhaustion had hit her as brutally as a freight train carrying iron bricks. She had passed out and now, waking several hours later to find herself alone in her ex-boyfriend’s studio, naked and wet and with no idea how she had reached this state. She was shaking. Her body simply would not be still.
For a few minutes she simply stayed there, being as still and quiet as possible. The cold surface upon which she had been laid was far from comfortable, but comfort was the last thing on her mind. Tears began to stream down her face and Jane, being unable to control them at all, simply let them fall wherever they wished to.
Movement from another room drew her attention to a point where she almost found herself screaming, but thankfully stopped herself in time. A rising sense of panic struck her, and she rushed to her feet, despite feeling immense pain in her back, her face and between her legs. It told her exactly what she had not wished to admit. Terrified, she rushed to find her clothes. Her skirt was easy enough to find, being still attached to her ankle. Her bra and her jumper had somehow been thrown underneath the desk, but her knickers had seemingly vanished. Hearing footsteps in the hall, she gave up the search and, her clothes in a bundle in her arms, Jane dove quickly underneath the mixing desk to hide.
Chris came in quickly, and without announcing himself. From her position, all that Jane could see were his feet. He didn’t say anything as she crouched there, still naked and feeling something, either blood or worse, beginning to trickle down her thigh. It was a constant struggle to keep from hyperventilating, but the idea of being caught again strengthened her resolve. Even now her eyes were having so much trouble focussing. She could barely see straight and felt sick and dizzy.
Jane heard him move, and a moment later he was calling her name and walking out of the room, seemingly hunting for her. As soon as she could hear his voice far enough away, she scrambled to get her clothes on, forgetting about her underwear completely in the rush. She found it more than likely that the sick bastard had pocketed them. Jane felt disgusted by him, but, at the same time, she was disgusted with herself. In her mind, coming here had allowed him to do such a thing to her. She had let this happen, and betrayed Henry in the process. As she was pulling her jumper over her head, the nausea struck again, causing her to retch and throw up right in front of her underneath Chris’ desk.
Praying that she hadn’t been heard, she remained very still, listening for the sounds of Chris’ voice. Her own vomit was so close that the smell was permeating her, driving her towards the idea of simply doing it again. Thankfully, before she could, she heard the sound of her name being called out somewhere far down one of the corridors, and took her chance to crawl out from her hiding place. Jane wasted a moment checking if her skirt was secure, as, without underwear, it would have to be if she should manage to escape. Then, she slipped out of the room and took the corridor left, away from where she could hear Chris shouting her name. Before she could even tell if he knew that she was there, she had fled out of the main door and charged down the stairs. The light of day showed that it was indeed blood that was now drying on her left leg, just beneath the hem of her skirt.
Walking home alone was not one of Hugh’s favourite pastimes, but Jimmy and George both lived on the other side of the shopping areas than Hugh, so it happened quite a lot. Whenever they would meet up to watch a film or get some dinner, usually when George’s sister wanted to go shopping and he didn’t want to be alone with only a mad woman on a shopping spree, home alone it would have to be.
Going through the downtown part of the town was never that lively a journey, but today, Hugh kept his mind occupied with numbers. It was a new thing for him. He had never so much as bothered with maths lessons, but something about fret numbers and strings had him quite enthralled. With a long walk ahead of him, he was running through the paper motions for some of the many riffs that he had been learning recently.
It was while walking through town that he recognised a woman from Ultimate-Guitar. For a minute he felt the urge to run up to her and start talking about guitars, but she seemed quite startled and, more importantly to Hugh, she was wearing quite a short skirt on a moderately windy day. Instead, he followed her for a little while, which proved quite difficult because she was actually moving very fast. He scoured his mind as quickly as he could for how he knew her via UG, and the answer actually came quite quickly. Her picture was up in HinJo’s thread in The Pit. She was Henry’s guitarist, though her name escaped Hugh now.
He trailed her through a couple of streets, wondering idly as to where she was going. Boredom had always held quite a sway over Hugh’s typical choice of actions, and he was far from above following somebody just to see what they were doing. She was obviously in a rush, though she seemed to be wandering back and forth all over the place. It was when she finally stopped at a bus stop just outside of town that Hugh noticed a tiny little stripe of red that had obviously crept down her inner thigh. Feeling more than a little disgusted, he resolved at that point to alter his path and leave her behind, but it was that moment, when she was standing at the bus stop, surrounded by people, that the wind flared up and pushed her skirt up with it. Hugh’s first ever glimpse of something that he had so looked forward to revealed bruises all over her backside and blood absolutely everywhere. She rushed to hold her skirt down, but it was far too late. The laughter of the spectators around her caused her to break down into tears and run as fast as she could away from them.
Later, when Hugh finally arrived home, the first thing that he did was to go onto Ultimate-Guitar and wander straight into The Pit. He found HinJo’s thread under his personal stickies and wrote a brief and sharp message:
Hinjo. When you next see your girlfriend, tell her no to go outside without underwear if she’s on her period. That stuffs absolutely f---ing disgusting.
With a crooked smile at his obvious wit and intelligence, he left the thread straight after, but not before decided to wander onto HinJo’s profile and give him a friend request. For some reason, it just felt right to him. Then, guitar in hand, he sat down to learn some music while waiting for the replies to his marvellous comment to mount up.