Know Who You Are Dealing With

Know Who You Are Dealing With

A Story by Delores Jordan

This short story was published in 2004 in the e-zine Free Fall. It is a YA story. I wrote this before NBC started their series.


Todd Bailey, the Moshman, studied his IM photo. Nice, baby-faced, fifteen-year-old with light brown curly hair, hazel eyes, and a scattering of umber freckles were his lucky calling card online. Girls always fell easily for him. He felt lucky that night. It had been a while since he had connected up with a decent girl. You know the type: cute but not pretty, shy, and not hooked up with anyone. He targeted the type who’d appreciate him in her life.

He surfed Open Diary for girls easy to charm and dazzle and naïve enough that no alarms would go off. Definitely someone whose single parent was too busy hating their ex to pay attention to what was going on until it was too late. Yes, he’d put many a divorced couple in the same room holding each other and speaking words of hope. In a way, what he did served a good purpose. Maybe parents would learn to quit being so self-centered like his own parents had always been.

He lit another cigarette as he logged on to Open Diary. Good thing his wife never came back here to the office where he kept his computer. She’d be upset that he was smoking again. Too bad for her. Just in case, he lit scented candles which cast soft lights on the computer keyboard. She respected his need for privacy and refused to clean this room. That was okay with him because it lent itself to never having to worry about being caught. He was on dial-up, so the song of the modem caused him to get very wound up just thinking about things.

 While he waited for the slow computer to connect, he went to the refrigerator to pop a beer. He knew it was early to start drinking, but he was so excited about the prospects of a new girl that he had to do something to calm himself down. He didn’t want to do anything to blow his cover. He got up and tripped over the dog sleeping beside his desk.

"Damn you, Scooter, how many times do I have to tell you don’t lie down there!"  Scooter went off whining as much from the cursing and loud tone as from the accidental kick. Todd pulled a muscle trying to prevent himself from falling over, and he limped towards the refrigerator.

The old linoleum floor, pitted and cracked, moaned as he walked down the hall into the kitchen. This house was all he had to show for his life, and it certainly was no prize. For five years he’d been promising to replace the floor and modernize the dwelling, change it to their home rather than to that of the older couple who originally decorated the house back in the late fifties. Marbled mint green bordered in black with black diamonds had actually gone out of style, back in, and then out once again. He couldn’t decide which were the tackiest: the floors or the mint green Formica counter tops trimmed in bent, dented, and often loose aluminum. With a burst of energy two years ago he had painted the cabinets white to give the kitchen a minor lift from its fifties straight jacket. He hobbled over to the oddly out of place, brushed, stainless steel, side by side, modern refrigerator. Remembering when he’d been able to provide something so nice brought a smile to his face. All too soon, the liar inside his head started in on him and ruined the reverie. Mr. Bud curled his lips into their off-centered smile. He reached in and grabbed a tall one. Today he had to be totally on his game. By now the modem was quiet, and he knew he’d connected with destiny.


She studied her photo that she kept displayed on Open Diary. It was her very best but always she found ways to find too many flaws to be happy and contented. Her hair was too stringy, her face too oily, her eyes too dark a gray, her mouth too big, and her teeth looked like they belonged to someone a foot taller than she. Mopsy, plain, uninteresting, and boring. If it weren’t for the fact that she had no chance at all without a photo, she’d have left it off. Home today because of the cramps, she’d logged on to lament yesterday’s run-in with the school’s cheerleader captain whose humiliating rail occurred in front of all of her friends. This was one place where strangers could read her thoughts and respond. Most of the time, there were others like her out there who understood the daily pain she faced as a high school freshman. It was what kept her sane, and she said exactly what she thought. Maybe one of the screen names was that nasty ol Jessica, the b***h. Maybe she’d recognize what an a*****e she was. She’d heard that some girls even got dates from their dealings with Open Diary. Her, never!  Who would want to take plain Jill out anywhere? 

She knew her dorky screen name further alienated her, but she didn’t want to give anyone out there any wrong vibes about what she was on there for: writing her innermost feelings, not landing a date.

Only one person was chatting this time of day. A guy. His screen name sounded cool. Obviously, he was into heavy metal bands. She liked some of the music like Disturbed and System Of A Down, but her mom monitored her pretty close. She’d heard about the mosh pits. She’d never been to any concert, much less one with a mosh pit where they would get pretty wild and eventually end up throwing bottles or even fighting. She’d ask him if he’d ever body surfed. Out of boredom she decided to chat with him.

Sweetlamb: LO

Moshman: Sup?

Sweetlamb: ntmch U?

Moshman: ASP

Sweetlamb: 14 F Mobile U?

Moshman: 15 M Eightmile Y home?

Sweetlamb:Ragging U?

Moshman: Flagged physics yesday. Ditched tday

studying 4 my make-up test. No POS there?

Sweetlamb: No, mom’s at work. U?

Moshman: Mine 2. No dad?

Sweetlamb: Nope, divorced.

Moshman: Me 2. Miss him?

Sweetlamb: I don’t. Ever body surfed?

Moshman: Yes, at Disturbed concert in NO.

Sweetlamb: Kuel, they my fav.

Moshman: I have signed leather bound "Believed."

Sweetlamb: UR joking Rt?

This made her so excited. Normally her guard was up, but hearing about someone having a signed copy of the limited edition dropped all of her precaution.

Moshman: No, wanna C it?

Sweetlamb: Yes, when?

Moshman: Do U go 2 the mall?

Sweetlamb: Not oftn. Mom’s strict. Only

place I can go is Barnes and Noble. Is that

so uncool?

Moshman: No, I understd. Can’t be 2 careful.

Jill heard her mom drive up. How quickly the time had flown. She just felt safe with this dude, in spite of what had happened two years earlier to her older sister. He was just way too cool to be dangerous. But she knew her mom would freak out, so she had to get off before her mom entered the house. The computer was in the den  right out in the open.

Sweetlamb: POS, gotta go.

Jill quickly shut down the computer with the power switch. Then hit it back on so it looked like the computer hadn’t been turned on. By the time her mom was parked in the garage and walking through the kitchen door, she was standing in front of the refrigerator.

"Hi, Mom. How did it go today?  You hungry?"

"You look like you’re feeling better. So, do you feel like cooking?  I’m exhausted. You know that child who always gives me fits really tied one on today. What have we got to eat?"

"Well, there’s yesterday’s leftover spaghetti, and the garlic bread that was left out overnight and is as hard as a brick, or there’s frozen pizza. It’s your call."

Nancy always felt so blessed to have Jill as her daughter. Jill had been through so much in the past two years and was still a sweet child. First, she lost her sister followed by her dad’s meltdown and walking out on them. She had every right to be a problem child, yet she still kept up with her grades and wasn’t even a rebellious child. But Nancy didn’t trust anyone now. The whole family had been impressed by Donna’s boyfriend, and he’d killed her. Donna had hidden his bad temper from the family. At the trial, he'd claimed that he thought she had cheating on him, and he’d flown into a rage, beating her up with his fists. Dan had wanted to kill Johnny, and that anger finally drove him away as he took it out on Nancy. Their coping mechanisms were too different and the marriage ended on a nasty note.

"Oh, heck, let’s go for broke and order out!  I’m in the mood for Chinese, how about you?"

"Sounds uber cool to me, Mom! You’re the greatest!"

They ate their supper piled up watching "Law and Order" and "Everybody Loves Raymond". Nancy said she wanted them both to get prone early since Jill had missed school. Bed rest always helped her when she had the cramps.

When the house was quiet for at least two hours, she sneaked out of her bedroom and turned the computer back on. She knew that Open Diary was archived, thanks to the computer’s Nanny. She opened it up to read what had been written. She logged back on and noticed that Moshman was involved with another young girl. She read what he had to say and made a determination.

Sweetlamb: Moshman, U there? Wanna chat?

My IM is 14Jill. Do you have IM?

Moshman: Yes. I’ll send you an invite. I thought

I had lost U forever.

Sweetlamb: Not me. I want to see that signed copy

U have. I’ll be waiting for U.

Shortly, she heard the familiar door opening when she logged on to her instant messenger, followed by a knocking on a door as Moshman sent her an invite to chat with him.

Mosh15: You are invited to chat, will you accept the

Invitation? The computer chimed each time a message     was sent.

14Jill: yes. Jill clicked on the accept button.

Mosh15: So, you want to see my CD? When can U

meet me?

14Jill: I’m going to the mall on Saturday. Mom is

dropping me off at Barnes and Noble. I’ll BN the

coffee shop.

Mosh15: I don’t like 2 take it out where others can

C it. I’m afraid it will be stolen. Can U meet me at

my lite blue Chevy van? Look 4 a flag and a sign-

tattooed by Kaos. I don’t like door dings. I’ll

park near the gas station.

14Jill: yes, what time?

Mosh15: say bout 2:30.

14Jill: sounds great. I’ll be wearing red pants

and a red striped top. C-U then. Better go B4 mom

wakes up.

Mosh15: Great! C-U 2.


"Online Predators Unit. How may I help you?"

"Yes, this is Nancy Dean. I think we have a live one. Set up 2:30 on Saturday at Barnes and Noble parking lot near the gas station. Driving a light blue Chevy van. This one is worth checking out. I caught my daughter online with him and logged on as her. I’ll deal with her tomorrow and ground her from using the computer, so the cover won’t get blown. My Nanny always brings up anything she’s done on the computer. He was too anxious about meeting inside the store, insisting on his van. Check your list for Moshman."

"Ten-four on Moshman. He’s a hit. Thanks. We’ve been looking for him for quite a while." 







© 2012 Delores Jordan

Author's Note

Delores Jordan
This is one of my earlier works.

My Review

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This has happened to me one to many times. You summed it up perfectly :)

Posted 6 Years Ago

Todd and Jill become friends. Jill sees herself as plain and ugly. Todd convinces her to meet him at the mall. Jill knows better, but his flattery is too beguiling. This story mirrors the plight of many teens. It also is a good lesson for any parents reading this.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on August 29, 2012
Last Updated on August 29, 2012
Tags: chat, pedophiles, Internet


Delores Jordan
Delores Jordan

Mobile, AL

I'm the author of many short stories and had my short stories, essays, art, photography, and poems printed in literary magazines and anthologies. I love to write. I'm a member of two critique groups:.. more..