I owe the typhoid, anal tearing, and HIV to the good boys and girls tapping away on keyboards behind bright screens and dimly-lit rooms. The ones hiding behind anonymous usernames and IP addresses with the genius ability to hack webcams and turn them on remotely without even triggering the indicator light. Before we were to be married, my girlfriend and I were in a very serious long-distance relationship. We would Skype every single day for hours. Of course, we had sex as well. Without going into too much detail, hackers were able to record our sexual interactions and had been publishing them online and making a handsome profit. We were collectively categorized under “Amateur Big Tits” and “Anal”. That’s not terribly important, but I found it amusing. The day I found out about the operation was while reading through a forum discussion titled: “Do you use your natural talent for Good or Evil?”
I lurked the thread and read countless posts, all extremely interesting. Then, I cam upon one outlining the development of a web store stocked full of fresh, purely amateur cam sex. I savagely tapped my phone against the link for preview screenshots of the alleged latest batch of goods and stared into the very familiar breasts of my wife, her two moles under the left nipple and the way the right one slightly points up more than the other. I stopped breathing and started to tremble. Was she cheating on me? Who did she send these pics to? I tapped through the other screenshots and found pictures of myself masturbating in the familiar leather chair in my office. I swallowed hard and cycled through the same four images of myself and my girlfriend, completely exposed to these strangers on the internet. Instantly, I realized someone was profiting from our exploits. Forum users shamed and praised this unknown hacker. I clicked through to their profile page and found no additional information. I took a screenshot of the thread and bookmarked the page. It wasn’t until I checked my email that I really understood the score.
“We have hours of video and audio of numerous sexual engagements between you and Ashley. You have $43,567 in savings. Wire it to Routing Number 88832944, Account Number 7277844 within two days or we will submit everything we have to all major amateur porn sites with detailed personal information.”
I distinctly remember getting this email. It has been burned clean in my memory like the September 11th attacks. It was a Friday and the office was quiet and I felt like a prisoner. I wondered if they meant two business days. It didn’t matter. No way in hell I was giving them my cash. I called my girlfriend in London and explained everything. She also received a similar email and was more scared and confused as she didn’t see the actual screen grabs yet. I told her about my plan to pack a single bag and leave civilized society forever. No, we would not live in the woods. Well, maybe. We weren’t going to abandon society: We would simply live among the savages. They would have no concept of the internet let alone amateur porn sites and perhaps we would be living our days half-naked among them so there was no shame in our bodies. Ashley was not convinced so I showed her the pictures and she cried and said it was so unfair and that people could be so cruel. Paying the hackers was not an option for her as well, neither was going with me to live an alternative lifestyle.
“Don’t worry, Terrence. It will be hard at first but then it will settle down.” She said. “It’s just sex, our bodies, it’s not like people haven’t seen stuff like that before. They’ve seen worse. Beheadings, animal-fucking, child killing, gang rape. This stuff also exists on the internet. Another sliver of amateur porn, if you could even call it that, would hardly do a damn thing except maybe cause some awkwardness at work.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. She was going to abandon me. No, she said I was abandoning her. Funny how people turn your words against you when it serves them. I told her goodbye and she begged me not to leave and I ended the call the destroyed my phone. In three hours I had my bag slung around my shoulder and stood in Portland International scanning departures, gripping my paperback volume of Noble Savages in anticipation. In two hours I could catch a flight to Venezuela and be well on my way to meeting Yanomami Indians.
I have always been fascinated by them, their warlike nature. I thrive in chaos, and that may sound strange given I am currently fleeing chaos, but that’s different, that’s personal. The Yanomami chaos is primal, brutal, and brimming with instinctual goodness. I buried my nose into the book and didn’t look up until the flight started boarding.
I passed out from exhaustion once I took my seat and was awaken by a beautiful, almond-colored stewardess who gently explained that we had landed. I looked around me and saw I was the only one still boarded and, slightly embarrassed, shuffled down the aisle and into the airport.
A blanket of humid air comforted me in the way a swarm of hornets buzzing in the ears might. It was so discomforting that I let out a gasp and back pedaled into the airport to call for a cab behind the window. That didn’t work so I braved the heat while an oncoming bowel movement sent a stir of sounds from my belly loud enough for the driver to hear once I sat in the backseat of an air-conditioned yellow taxi. He nodded and said something in Spanish and I nodded back.
It took four-thousand more dollars and sixteen hours to find the boat that would take me to the nearest Yanomami settlement on the border between Venezuela and Brazil. We took the Rio Negro South, the coast densely forested by tall Tamarinds ripe with fruit and wild cashew trees that dipped into the water.
We arrived on a plain shore where a short, half-naked man stood holding a feathered spear. Next to him, a little girl held a baby, both their faces painted with streaks of red. The girl had skinny wooden sticks like long cream straws driven through her chin. I hoisted my bag out of the boat and waved farewell to my captain who wasn’t even looking my direction as he furiously pushed the boat away from shore and fired the motor back up north. The cries of the man before me caused me to shout with fright. The man was baring his teeth to me, flailing his arms and growling. The girl was pulling at my bag and I explained my purpose to them, to live among savages. And I went to pull the book out of my bag when a spear pieced through my hand between the middle and index knuckles. I felt so many things twist and break that I imagined the hand would never be of use to me again.
I looked up into the pale eyes of the man whose spear was stuck inside the same hand I had wrapped around my penis in those screenshots and oh boy was this going to be one helluvah story to tell Ashley. She wouldn’t believe it. I said, “What are you doing, man?” And he emitted one last battle cry before yanking the spear free and finding it a new place between my ribs.
Christ, it hurt so bad. The rangers who found me said I was babbling on about living among true men, true humans. What had happened? I asked the medicine man before me. He shook his head and nodded towards a man standing at the foot of my bed wearing army fatigues. This man smiled, revealing a mouth full of golden teeth. “We saved you,” he said. “We shot them, the man, baby, the girl. Two other men we also shot and killed but they were not Yanomami.”
I stared at him in disbelief. “What the hell are you talking about?”
The man chuckled. “You work for us now.”
I gripped my stomach as a knot of pain jolted me upright in bed. The spear-wound. It burned like fire. Except this pain felt deep in the pit of my stomach, like I had ate too much junk food and it roasted my insides.
“That’s 45 capsules of heroin in your belly,” the man said with a smile. “Do not poo poo until you reach Juarez, they might let you shit in a bathroom if you behave.”
“Why am I going to Mexico?” I said.
“You are part of my inventory!” The man laughed and walked over to my bedside and ruffled my hair up and slapped my shoulder. “Get dressed. I’ll be back in fifteen minutes and we get you on a plane to Juarez, my friend.” He walked toward the door.
“What happens once I get there?” I heard myself say.
The man stopped and turned. “I don’t know. The cartel bought you, they decide. Now get dressed or I hit you in the face. No I’m not supposed to do that, so I hit you in the ballsacks!” He laughed and walked out the door. I studied the medicine man who wore a long brown robe adorned with embroidered jewels. His face bore deep canyons of age. “Please save me,” I said.
The medicine man brought over my clothes and dropped them in my lap and said, “No. You save me.”