Michael and Bobby: Lost and Found

by DMR

Chapter 6


Michael was in his element. He's strutting around like a cock of the walk, mused Corey, smirking to himself at his only partially intentional double entendre. Earlier that morning, Michael had visited many of the local thrift stores, snatching up as many white or off-white bed sheets and show curtains as he could find. Several were a little tattered, but they should certainly do the job. Some of the drag queens in the group had dutifully brought feathers, as requested.

After the thrift store circuit was done, Michael rushed off to the re-Store, a second-hand hardware retail space run by Habitat for Humanity. Verifying the height and thickness necessary with a classmate who had dropped out of an architecture major, Michael selected the appropriate metal bracing, which the re-Store all but gave away.

The group had formed around card tables in the dorm common room, sewing all the fabric together. Michael would stop by each person, measuring the fabric to make sure it was enough to cover the angel wings. Satisfied with the progress, he went back to joining Jack with the metal braces, bending them appropriately. "I dropped out of architecture for a reason, man. This shit is boring."

Michael grinned, saying, "I'm sure you can handle this. It's not like I'm having you rebuild the Washington Cathedral or something."

Jack couldn't argue that point as he bent another piece so it would fit over the shoulders.

"Whatchu lookin' at, cunt?" a man roared at Bobby. Bobby honestly wasn't looking at anyone: he was trying to melt into the wall if truth be told. But "Ace" was in a bad mood. The damn fuzz had caught him dealing again. He had broken parole, and now he could be in for the long haul. He didn't like the idea of that at all. He was close to crying, but no. Ace was a man, and he didn't cry like no damn fairy. But then he saw the fish. Something to smack around. Oh yes. Something that little was sure to make Ace feel better. Ace would prove he was a man by beating on that little pussy over there.

"Nothing," Bobby whimpered.

"You callin' me nothing, bitch?" Ace demanded, puffing his chest out, just like an animal. Ace wasn't really much to be impressed with. He had a grizzled beard with greasy black hair going silver. His skin was adorned with misspelled tattoos and he was missing several teeth from that fight he had decades ago. What it was about though, he couldn't remember. He was right, though, whatever it was about.

Ace lunged at Bobby, who immediately backed away further. This gave Ace a sense of pleasure, and he burst out laughing. "Fuckin' bitch ain't enough worth it." Bobby sighed a breath of relief as the man sauntered away, superiority proven.

"Corey," Michael called out gently, pressing his hand into the boy's shoulder, "can we talk?"

Corey looked up at his former bedmate and smiled. He stood up and motioned Michael into a secluded area. "What's up?"

"Look, I want to apologize for the other day," Michael continued, uncomfortably. "I know the score with you and all."

"You can still score," Corey responded with a flirty wink. "Anytime you want." Corey ran his fingers up Michael's leg but gasped as his wrists were grasped.

"Stop it!" Michael commanded. He paused for a moment and let out a sigh. "Look, that's not what I mean. I just can't do this anymore. You're a good guy and all, but I... We don't click. And it's not fair of me to be down on you because of that. I just like things one way, and you like it another. And there's nothing wrong with that."

"Just a bad match, even for fuckbuddies, huh?" Corey said, feeling a little bit the same way. "I'm gonna miss that dick, though." Michael chuckled in response. "So what's his name?"

"Huh?" Michael responded. Whose name?

"Stupid," Corey chided, lightly hitting Michael's chest. "You're thinking about someone, obviously. What's his - omigawd, you did not go straight on me, did you?"

"Uh, no." Michael's face curled into a look of disgust. "No, it's... tragic like all gay relationships, right? Or non-relationships. He's way too young and off... in another state." Michael sighed. "Is it that obvious?"

"You never had that look when we were together." Corey grinned as a completely off-topic thought crossed his mind. "Hey, what if I mooned those Jesus psychos?" Michael laughed, walking away. Oh no, he wasn't getting away that easily. "Brant!" Michael paused and turned around. People were starting to stare. Well good. "Name?"

Michael had that damn love-struck smile again. "Bobby." No, he never had that smile with me, Corey decided.

"He was drunk, Frank."

"I don't care."

"There is no evidence."

"But he was after my boy!"

The commissioner sighed. Frank Costa was a little too hot tempered for his own good. To be honest, he didn't see any evidence to support Daniel's claims. Daniel's story seemed spoon fed, almost robotic in its delivery. He couldn't keep the boy without evidence. And the younger Costa's story changed from minute to minute, clearly not even knowing what he was saying. "Don't worry, Frank. If there's anything to find, we'll find it. The facts aren't really adding up right now, but we'll figure it out."

Officer Costa grunted and slammed the commissioner's office door.

Michael's eyes glistened with excitement. After a long Thursday of people joining and leaving as their schedules required, he saw his accomplishment: twelve enormous "angel wings" with fabric consisting of a variety of shades of white. He was very proud of what the group as a whole had accomplished.

Michael was never a gay activist, but for some reason that flyer had just irritated him. So he had started his angelic plan, and couldn't be prouder of what everyone did. Since this was college, the last minute was the rule rather than the exception. Logging into Facebook, Michael sent out invitations to join the anti-rally to show that hateful group that there were far more homosexuals out there than they knew. Tomorrow would be a very busy but very interesting day.

Once Michael had sent out the invitation, he noticed many people had commented on a particular video that was posted on his wall. He scanned a few of the comments. 'Way to go Michael?' What the hell? 'Isn't he a little young?' Michael's brow furrowed. What on earth? He played the video.

The same tacky music that he heard earlier played. He was about the shut off the video when he saw some text appear. Michael's brow furrowed in anger. More hate speech. But then... Michael gasped as he saw an absolutely stunning boy having a very good time. "Fuck," Michael whispered to himself as his shorts grew very tight. The boy in the video was whispering something that he couldn't quite make out. 'What a gorgeous hole,' Michael thought.

However, Michael's jaw soon dropped. The video had cut to... a video of himself. That was at the beach, where he and Bobby... And then it clicked. That was Bobby. And Bobby wanted him. Desperately. Soon after, Bobby's number popped up on the screen. Michael added it to his cell phone. Michael soon rewound the video to his favorite part. Several times.

Forty-five minutes later, Michael decided it was probably a good time to visit the Laundromat. On his way over with highly pungent sheets, Michael called the number on the video. The sweetest voice could be heard, announcing that the caller had reached Bobby's cell. Just as Michael was about to demand a callback so they could talk, he was disheartened to hear that tragic operator message: "THIS MAILBOX IS FULL."

Not to be discouraged, Michael shot off a text message. Based upon the abusive nature of the video, however, he was sure his Bobby - His Bobby? Michael thought to himself. Of course, it was his name being called out in the throes of passion, after all. Launching Xilisoft, Michael downloaded the video for future use.

As if by default, Michael read some of the comments. It never ceased to amaze him how hateful people could be when shrouded by the assumed anonymity of the internet. Smirking, Michael knew that nothing was truly anonymous with networks. Scanning through more comments, Michael noticed one from a few users that seemed to know Bobby. One comment was especially gripping.

went to skool with this faggit. glad we beat him up in hs

Michael logged into his Google account and searched through several usernames he had mentioned. Most did not have Google accounts. The last one he tried, which ended up being that of the person making the nasty comment, located the user. "Thank you for buying Youtube, Google," he whispered to himself. In a rather unsubtle move, Michael messaged the user.

mbrant84: Do you know Bobby?

bubeman4vr2010: i h8 that fag who ru?

mbrant84: Do you live in the same town as Bobby?

bubeman4vr2010: yeah but not 4 long who ru bitch?

Michael ran the netstat command and viewed all of the IP addresses he was connected to. Oops, he forgot about the DB2 server. Time to kill that connection. How he hated that crappy database solution which IBM provided. He was an Oracle man through and through.

'Enough of that,' Michael thought, scanning through the list. There it was. The subnet header for that particular IP address seemed to have possibilities. This was one of the most basic networking research methods, but often simplicity offers the best solution. An IP address works as a kind of nameplate for every device on the internet. These can be easily spoofed, or faked, by connecting through a third party proxy connection, but Michael was certain this individual didn't possess the intelligence to set an alarm, much less spoof an address.

A standard IP address has four placeholders of 256 possible numbers (0 to 255), with a worldwide total of 4,294,967,296 different addresses in total possible. The beginning placeholders are called subnets. While this number sounds substantial, with people using more and more web-enabled devices, such as multiple desktops and laptops, tablets, smart phones and the like, those numbers are running out. The subnet also has some very important information: it points to the city and state that the device connects from. There were always exceptions, but Michael was hoping that he could find what he needed soon.

Running a quick search on the noted IP address gave Michael the city and state of "bubeman." Paris, Tennessee, about seven and a hour hours away.

bubeman4vr2010: i talkin to u bitch.

Michael had forgotten about the chat window. Ah yes, his little friend.

mbrant84: My name is Michael.

The pipe cursor flashed for several moments as Michael rested his chin in his templed fingers as he considered whether or not to send the message. He pressed enter and logged out.

Had Michael not have been so hasty, he would not have missed the reply:

no shit? well u wont be able to get that fag n beat m up for takin those sick pics of u cuz he in jail haha

Michael then went to the Youtube video and reported it as abusive. Hopefully it would be removed. That was for his eyes only. Then he looked at his cell phone. Why didn't he just search by Bobby's phone number?! Michael groaned and banged his head down on his desk.

Author's note: The actions described above are somewhat possible. I hope I have not bored you too much with the technical details and brief explanation of internet protocol addresses. While it is possible to trace an IP address as described above, it more than likely would not be possible to do so in the way described. If you are speaking to someone through an instant messaging client like Yahoo Messenger or AOL Instant Messenger, finding the IP address is possible. In the scenario above, a Facebook conversation is less likely to garner positive results because the IP address will more than likely point to a Facebook server itself instead of the person with whom you are chatting. This is because each person chatting is actually sending data directly to Facebook instead of through a connection with each other. For brevity's sake, however, I omitted that and left the possibility to the world of fiction.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to drop me a note if you wish.

Thanks, David.