In his teen years, this had troubled him greatly – even the few friends he had in high school, despite their awkwardness, had at some point kissed a girl. In University, he resigned himself to his fate as a lifelong involuntary celibate. He had toyed with the idea of hiring a prostitute, but he was so terrified by the reaction he imagined a seasoned professional would have to his pathetic inexperience, that he never got the nerve. Presently, after eight months spent with little sunlight, no real food, and absolutely no physical exercise, his libido had waned to the point where he was not even bothered by his virginity. If a beautiful woman were to materialize on the filthy single bed next to his computer chair, naked and willing, he would probably not even be tempted to break from his digitally-rendered missions. Certainly not if he was in the middle of a dungeon.
Very rarely did Nick even register that there existed some world outside the 17-inch monitor and surround-sound speakers on which he had spent the last of his parent’s tuition fund they had set up in his name. Hunger, thirst and the bathroom were the only things that jolted him into self-awareness. Occasionally his alarm clock would go off – not to wake him up, but to remind him to stop playing and go to work. Nick had his games, his basic bodily functions, and the menial labour he did to support them. Absolutely nothing else existed in his life.
The day, like most, began early for Ian. The sun struggled to pull itself up over the horizon, although you could only infer this from its outline through the overcast sky. Ian stretched out his lean body and forced himself out of bed. As was his morning routine, which he followed extremely diligently, he started a pot of water boiling for his oatmeal and tea, showered, and ate his breakfast while browsing through his email, facebook and the day’s news.
Ian felt excited to check his email that morning. It seemed silly, and he was momentarily ashamed at his enthusiasm for such a minor event. It was only by an act of considerable willpower, coupled with his great reverence of routine and habit, that he restrained his desire to flip on his computer first thing in the morning and check it immediately.