A Post Opp’s Devolution — Part 7

“You idiot! An addict like you will always be alone. You’ll die alone embracing a whore comprised of pixels and bits.

The Demon of self monitoring pessimism was back.

Jason jumped up from his chair too quickly, his legs were like jelly, he stumbled against a bank of monitors. Taking a few minutes to catch his balance he caught a glimpse of himself in a body length mirror. I look hot! What a waste!

Jason was dressed immaculately for the date that he was now 18 hours late for. Jason, normally quite fashion ignorant, had hired a digital stylist to pick out and tailor a stylish combination of jeans and dress shirt for him. The $3000 Tagheuer he had picked out himself.

Jason didn’t exactly feel hungover, just sore. His head felt as though he’d been an unsuccessful contestant in a boxing match.

His link was dead. Usually he charged it via an entanglement field projection device he had in the nerve center while gaming, but he had promised himself before sitting down to game that he would leave the house shortly.

He needed to fabricate a believable story and luckily Jason was a pretty good liar. The truth has always been the best tool in the service of lies for me… I could tell her that I take a special drug for a condition and sometimes it makes me sleep very deeplyThat’s true…ish!

Link notifications lit up his peripheral vision as his link began to charge…

Hey buddy. It’s 9:30, got the heli gassed up here. Where you at?

10:30 Hey Jason you made a reservation tonight. I’m at taxiing out of tarmac 3B like before. I can’t wait much longer for you.

11:30 I’m calling it a night. Not sure what happened to you. Please take care of the invoice immediately for the time of mine you spent tonight.

He had 4 missed calls from Alejandra’s number and one text

WTF Jason. Flake. Don’t return to invite Astrid again.

There was also a voicemail from a number Jason didn’t recognize until it played and he immediately recognized the perfectly feminine, round yet musical latin accent, like before a symphony of misplaced conjugations and confused articles:

“Hi Jason. This is Astrid. How are you? I was excited about the helicopter and everything. We tried to call you and you never came. My sister was so mad but I understand things happen. I’m not mad. I got my own phone. This is my number. Call me when you’re available and maybe we can find each other for another coffee or something. Bye!”

A cocktail of regret, enthusiasm and desire hit him in the chest like a Thai kick boxer.

“Astrid really is different. Just tell her the truth! She’ll appreciate your honesty.

The Angel of gratitude empowered optimism finally opined. The Demon countered:

“This whore has already cost you $625 and you haven’t even fucked her yet. We’ll see how much more cash you have to burn to enter her luscious loins.

He pulled up her number in the dialer. He noticed his blood pressure spiking in one of his biosign monitoring displays. He was nervous.

Last time I talked with Astrid I was on three grams of Phenibut and since she still wants to see me, I must have indeed been clever enough to wash a beaver without getting its fur wet — or whatever the silly expression was that Yuri used. I gotta stay congruent! I need some instant confidence!

From a drawer of his desk Jason extracted a small black glass vial. As his fingers touched its cool smooth surface a growing excitement worked its way up his arms to his shoulders to culminate in a subtle tingle on the back of his neck. He excitedly unscrewed the top and lifted the vial to one of his nostrils. He snorted heartily and a potent yet earthy scent filled his nasal cavity.

Jason had once dropped $1800 on a 3 day NLP workshop. He had picked up three surprisingly effective methods for instant confidence from the workshop…

Scent Triggering

Classic Pavlovian conditioning, a simple hack of olfactory memory, one anchors a scent to a desired mindset. Jason’s was mistletoe, whenever Jason had emerged victorious from a windfall sim poker hand he took a big whiff of mistletoe. Thereby associating the scent to a head space of massive confidence. This was a two way biological street, provided Jason didn’t dilute the scent by over a 1:3 proportion (one time faking confidence, for every two times anchoring the scent to an actual event) — according to the sandal wearing, long haired, eccentric yet energetic NLP guru.

Ape-ing

This biohack was less complex, one would act like an aggressive ape for about 2 minutes, shake one’s arms above one’s head, reaching for imaginary branches. Done in private of course or with friends for riotous hilarity.

60 Seconds of Arbitrary Laughter

Jason found that deep, belly laughter for 1 minute was a sure stimulator of peak state confidence. The first 20 seconds were always awkward and forced, but after that laughing at laughing became self evidently funny and carried him into a quintessentially playful state.

After the trifecta, Jason paced his apartment as an outlet for the confidence bursting out of his chest. He dialed Astrid.

She picked up on the third ring.

“Hi Jason.”

Her voice sent a wave of tingles up his neck…

“Hi Astrid…” As opposed to making small talk Jason jumped right to the elephant (or helicopter!) in the room and began to lie “I have a special condition that I should really tell you about…”

“It’s called Anaphylaxis, it makes me extremely allergic to pollen in the air, it’s especially a problem now during the spring time. It can actually cause me problems breathing. I need to take special medicine for this condition, called Antihisatamax. Sometimes this medicine makes me sleep very deeply — especially if I don’t eat enough — I will sleep for 15 or 20 hours, it’s almost impossible for me to wake up.”

*”Wow.”

“I was so excited about seeing you Friday night but I didn’t want any problems with my allergies so I had to take my medicine around 4PM then I ate a big salad. I sat down to do some things and I fell asleep. I just woke up now.”

“Ok. I see. That sounds like a difficult condition. Does the medicine give you headaches?” Her voice dripped with empathy

While he had initially planned to, in the moment Jason didn’t feel the need to explicitly apologize. He had established plausible deniability. He continued…

“Maybe a little headache, but mostly it just makes me tired. Look, there’s something that I noticed about you that I really like…”

“What?” Her curiosity was peaked

“You seem like a very positive, upbeat person but also very cool headed and undramatic. Like you don’t let small issues bother you.” Jason stole a generic compliment he had once heard from a suave character in a romantic comedy.

“Ahh… thank you! I try to be positive always. When I was younger, I had many problems to deal with in my life and I had to learn to stay positive and… tranquila.” She failed to translate the last word.

“So… What did you end up doing Friday night?”

“Nothing. I got all dressed up, but you didn’t come so I just talked with my sister about my plans here in this country.”

“Yeah… what are your plans in this country?”

“Well, I would like to improve my English. I know it is very bad. So I will take some English classes…”

“Your English is pretty good actually for someone who has been in an English speaking country for so little time!”

“Thanks! And I will also do an adventure race.”

“Really like the Spartan Race? With the fire, barb wire, mud and trenches?”

“Yes! I’m very excited for it. We don’t have races like this in my country. I’ve been training for a long time.”

“That’s awesome! I would like to see you again. What are you doing today?”

“So… My sister has a friend who invited us to this nightclub, Narcissus-Neptune. You know it?”

Jason had once in his life had a $6500 hangover the morning after, the after party of a big sim poker convention that had come through town. Thanks Narcissus-Neptune!

“Yes, I know it.”

“My sister’s friend is an artist doing a show there. We will go to see the show. If you want to meet us there you can.”

“That’s sounds great! What will you be wearing?” Jason asked a question sure to hook any woman’s imagination

“Well…” He could practically hear her smile over the phone “You’ll have to come and see.”

They exchanged a few details of time and place of meeting. Astrid ended the conversation artfully:

“I hope we have a night that will pass very nice!”

Jason needed Phenibut. Luckily there were about 6 tablets remaining from the stash Yuri had given him.

He arrived early at Narcissus-Neptune, a place where opulence, vanity and the rhythm of water danced with questionable decisions. One entire side of the club was walled by the 150,000 gallon city aquarium, all variety of colorful aquatic wildlife swam by just inches away from the clubbers. Lights from the aquarium filtered through the water casting the whole dance floor in an eerie blue light. The other half of the club was all wall and body length mirrors, sculptures of roman gods mingled with the reflections of dancers taking selfies, truly a place to feed one’s narcissism as its name implied.

Jason had partaken of the trifecta of confidence triggers again before heading out, in addition to the Phenibut. Although he couldn’t tell if the Phenibut had kicked in yet, he was in a chatty mood. He had shot the shit with his building’s doorman while he waited on a iUber and instead of standing in the corner of the club nursing a drink and browsing on his link, he broke character and socialized with the bar staff.

A hand touched his shoulder, so lightly initially but with a growing rhythmical pleasant pressure. A curvy figure in Jason’s peripheral vision embraced him.

Astrid looked hot. Like one of the pornstars in his adult sims prior to taking off their clothes. It was difficult to tell whether she had fake tits or not, her strapless brassiere betrayed how perfectly perky they were — yet they felt so naturally soft against my chest as she hugged me — those might be real!

His gaze drank in her visage.

“You look like a movie star tonight, Astrid”

She laughed as she leaned into him again, this time turning her cheek toward him. With uncharacteristic simultaneous smoothness, Jason reached behind her head and kissed her cheek.

“Who are you with tonight?”

“My sister and some friends.”

“And me.” he unashamedly let his gaze drift down, the stylish jeans she was wearing also betrayed the pleasant thickness and curvature of her thighs. After letting his eyes linger for a moment too long on her nether regions, his gaze regained altitude and swam in the darkness of her eyes. She responded by simultaneously tilting her head slightly upward and about 25 degrees to the left, placing one of her hands on her hip and narrowing her eyes even further. An expression that was two parts quizzical and one part challenging. Jason matched her stare and took a deep, steady breath, letting it completely fill his chest before responding “I’m really happy to see you again.”

She closed the distance again and kissed him on the cheek.

“Let’s meet your friends.” Jason suggested

“They are at the table by the stage.” Astrid nodded towards the front corner of Narcissus-Neptune, drenched in club lighting, illuminated by a disco ball suspended between the ceiling and the yet uncrowded dancefloor.

They approached the table, yet while Astrid was on his arm, she was also simultaneously at their table, her arms draped over 2 tall men wearing suits and stylish sneakers. Alejandra is wearing the exact same outfit as Astrid, that’s clever of them… Shit Alejandra! She called me a flake and told me not to see her sister again. I bet she fucking hates me!

Jason felt a pang of nervousness, a sinking feeling in the solar plexus, that radiated out and stiffened his limbs ever so slightly, the closest that he had come to genuine nervousness since consuming the Phenibut. This is awkward. Maybe I should just avoid Alejandra tonight… In a near instantaneous response of uncanny empathy, Astrid reassuringly squeezed and rubbed her fingers up the hook of his arm. No. I can exercise frame control in this situation. I’ll just be really friendly to Alejandra, amicable with the group and pretend that yesterday didn’t even happen! It’s a social setting, she’s not going to be rude to me in front of her friends. Her forgiveness is undoubtedly for sale for whatever bar tab we can run up tonight that I will pay.

As soon she looked up, he gave a friendly little wave. For a very cold moment, her eyes communicated pure skepticism and malice. He responded by putting a big cocky smile on his face and greeting her “Hola, chica!”

“Hi Jason!” Her face instantly transformed and beamed a lighthearted, playful energy, like the club lights overhead. She smoothly transitioned to make introductions. “Jason this is Sean and Brian. They are very talented artists, doing the show here tonight.”

Sean was the better looking of the two, a very dapper, skinny black guy, about 20% of his ensemble was quintessentially urban; his very clean, multi textured sneakers contrasted with the rest of his look which was classic Frank Sinatra, from his stylish pocket square barely peeking out of his jacket breast pocket to the just slightly loosened skinny tie dangling none nonchalantly from the equally loosened collared, white dress shirt, its very top button undone.

Brian could have passed for an advertising stock photo model of a banker, with the exception of very intense eyes and the most fabulous fedora Jason had ever seen. It was black, yet stenciled with beautiful, multi layered cartography. A thin glossy, red stripe ran around the hat, over layed as if held in place by the stripe was a holographic print of a feather, as Jason’s perspective changed the holographic feather glimmered and bounded across the color spectrum; red, white, silver, gold, blue, green and purple. On the left side of the hat in bold cursive letters was a single word, also in holographic print: Sprezzatura. I wonder what that means? Truly a fashion item that belonged in a nightclub.

A few firm handshakes were exchanged.

“Really? You guys are musicians?”

“Rappers.”

“Cool… Can I check out your music on Soundcloud or Youtube?” A question I’ve learned all musicians love to answer…

“Yeah. If you search for King Tef or Hypnautic, H-Y-P-N-A-U-T-I-C.” Brian spelled it out gesturing to himself “You can listen to an entire album we released recently, for free actually.”

The odd spelling of the second name rang a bell for Jason.

“Wait. You are Hypnautic? You play sim poker?”

“Guilty as charged.” Hypnautic responded with a Bill Clinton-esque smirk

“About 3 weeks ago, I think we played an epic hand together in FullStarPoker. I think I may have taken you to the cleaners actually…”

“I remember it! You had a straight flush that should have been impossible…”

The cocktail waitress picked just that moment to give Jason an expensive opportunity to show off. “Sir, would you like to see our bottle service menu?”

Jason glanced at the card of astronomically priced adult beverages for about 3 seconds. He selected a bottle of Belvedere Black Raspberry.

“We require a credit card or pre-approved Bitcoin wallet on file for that item.”

Fucking $400 for a fucking bottle of vodka! Fuck it! That’s what I make 10 minutes!

“No problem I’ll verify my bitcoin wallet ID now.”

A few minutes later a beautiful, jet black bottle of Polish vodka appeared at the table, in a translucent glass ice bucket with the Narcissus-Neptune logo inscribed on the side of it. Which drove Alejandra into ecstasies for about 5 minutes as she profusely thanked Jason, and took about 25 selfies with the bottle, with Jason, with her sister and of course with Brian and Sean, the artists.

Jason and Hypnautic got into an energetic discussion of their sim poker exploits. Alejandra, seemed to be approached by a none stop stream of friends and acquaintances at their table. Well, she’s popular here! Astrid, elected to sit quietly by Jason’s side, sipping on her cocktail, mostly unable to keep up the fast paced, geeky poker conversation.

Astrid then announced she needed to use the restroom. Maybe I should pay her a little more attention… “Me too!” Jason took her hand and began moving towards the restrooms.

Working their way through the swaying crowd he recognized a skinny girl with the short, spikey hairstyle that was so popular nowadays. It was Trish. A few months ago there was one girl in Jason’s Support group. They had actually kind of hit it off together in Support and over a group lunch once, she had laughed at Jason’s pessimistic and self effacing sense of humor.

The Post Opp’s problem of extreme technology addiction, certainly extends to the female population as well in almost as catastrophic reach but it’s just a whole lot more rare that judges send them to Support. 4th wave feminism had, with much pomp and circumstance, successfully pushed through a lot of legislation preventing women from suffering consequences of their actions in the ever expanding digital world. Trish was an exception to this. I digress…

“Let’s say hi to a friend of mine real quick.” Jason half yelled in Astrid’s ear during the crescendo of a dancy house music hit, as he dragged her through the crowd towards Trish.

Trish was just on the periphery of a larger group of drunk looking people, Jason tapped her shoulder, greeted her and kissed her on the cheek as he had his other companions.

An awkward look appeared on her face for a few moments that quickly transitioned to laughter…

“I think you have me confused with someone else!” At this distance it was obvious that she wasn’t Trish, but she could have been her prettier sister. She also had a bit of an accent.

“Really! You know you totally have a twin named Trish!”

“Yeah, well I’m a single child.” She retorted, obviously a bit annoyed by being approached by a stranger.

“Hey, real quick, can you take a picture of us with this in the background with my phone.” Jason asked as he gestured to a particularly cool statue of Neptune with his trident. He handed her his iPhoneX.

“Sure.” She responded as she fumbled with the digital buttons of the 5.1 millimeter thin carbon fiber device, trying to find the appropriate app.

“Actually, with this model you just point it at us, holding it with both hands as you do normally when you take a photo and IOS will detect that you are trying to take a picture and launch the camera app.”

While 90% of his attention was on the short haired girl, he gave a very quick glance at Astrid while simultaneously squeezing her hand. They embraced for a moment next to the roman deity for the photo.

“Thanks! What’s your name?”

“Anna.”

Astrid picked that minute to slide into Jason a little more, embracing him from the side, she began to stroke his chest with her right hand. Subtly laying claim.

“Hi! I’m Jason, I’m here with…” Should I call her my girlfriend? Well, that’s what she’s acting like so far tonight “…my girlfriend Astrid.”

Astrid showed no resistance to her new title, giving Anna a cordial embrace of greeting and saying “Nice to meet you!”. Those 4 little words in her rich, yet smooth accent, betraying her exotic origin, contained more charm than an hour long oration by an impassioned politician or a trained actor.

“You are adorable! Where are you from!” Any hint of Anna’s standoffish dismissiveness was now gone.

“Colombia.” Astrid responded

“You don’t quite sound like you are from here either.” Jason asked

“I’m from Sweden, but I’ve lived here about 5 years.”

Ever so slightly Astrid squeezed Jason’s hand and pulled him towards her.

“Shit! You need to use the bathroom don’t you?”

Astrid nodded. Jason excused them from their new friend.

“Maybe we’ll find each other to party more later, ya?” Anna asked, the last syllable of her sentence revealing her Nordic accent, to which Jason half nodded.

They returned to their table… A bottle of champagne was now swimming with the vodka in the ice bucket. I guess someone is taking some liberties with my credit! One of those pop latin reggaeton songs came on, the twins let out a little simultaneous cry of joy. Hypnautic, in a movement that matched the fluidity of the aquatic environment around them, grabbed Alejandra’s hand and pulled her to her to her feet to dance.

Jason followed suit, although less smoothly. On her feet Astrid immediately turned around and presented her magnificent backside to Jason. She backed up into Jason and began to seductively bump’n grind, which for Jason was quite the sensory overload.

Her mesmerizing ass and hips were moving in like 6 different directions simultaneously; Back and forth horizontally, up and down vertically in an arch, at the peaks of the arches she coiled her body like a snake to shoot a playful glance back at Jason and would pop out and rotate back her hips in the way only women can. All while intermittently vibrating her ass in the way strippers are highly compensated to do so.

Her hair was in his nose, the subtle fruity scent of her shampoo tickled his scent palette.

Their hands also mingled like birds in a mating dance. Above her head, outstretched, embracing across her chest and finally at her waist; through her jeans he could feel the pronounced contours of her hip bones.

Well, this is exciting! Outside of a strip club Jason had rarely seen, much less felt in such an intimate position a woman dance with so much much rhythm, soul and sensuality.

Jason was not used to girls dancing like this. He had once heard that the trick to this kind of dancing is to let the woman lead and just follow the booty, so that’s exactly what he did.

Jason quickly became aware that he was totally… erect.

Shit. She must totally be able to feel my boner! This is awkward. Maybe I should excuse myself…

Then a devious thought entered his mind…

Maybe I should adjust my boner to point straight up in my pants, let her really feel it…

No… That’s disgusting.

Well, she’s the one who started dancing like we are fucking! And I just bought a $400 bottle of Vodka, I should be able to do whatever the fuck I want to…

In a lull in the rhythm of the song, Jason disengaged for a moment and reached down to pickup their drinks. In a movement obscured by the dark club lighting, he reached into his pants pocket and readjusted his erection to point upwards in about an 11 o’clock angle. Astrid closed the distance again, and they resumed their sexy jig. She noticed it immediately, turned her head to give him a frisky look, laughed and proceeded to give Jason a vertical lap dance that would have put any stripper’s performance to shame, although it was slower, closer and lacked the frantic, rushed tempo of a working girl’s movements.

I can’t believe I got away with that! She must really want to fuck me!

As opposed to addressing the overt sexuality of their physical interaction, Jason kept the conversation casual, even a little dry. They meandered from topic to topic, occasionally swimming in each others lips, eventually Astrid asked:

“Jason, where is your girlfriend?” Obviously, I don’t have a girlfriend, but I can’t just tell her that. Maybe I should just be cocky, tell her I have 10 girlfriends, but no I don’t want her to think I’m a player. Wait a minute, is she asking to be my girlfriend? Isn’t that a little forward, we barely know each other and we haven’t even fucked yet. Maybe that’s normal in her culture, though…

Jason responded by taking a slow sip of his cocktail, maintaining eye contact. Actually, I already called her my girlfriend, publicly, so I might as well stay congruent but make a joke out of it.

“Well, we will play a game that you are my girlfriend, that you have been my girlfriend for 5 years. To make this game more fun we will make up lies about each other to everyone we meet. Sound fun?”

“I think I will like this game.” She laughed and kissed Jason again, whispering “Que lindo.” in his ear…

In his conversations with Astrid, less was said but so much more was communicated.

Read more A Post Opp’s Devolution — Part 8 PH

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