“So, I think the coffee’s ready now” Jon said, giving me his hand and hoisting me off the floor.
“I think I’m pretty wide awake now” I grinned. “But it smells so good” I added, always loving the aroma of a fresh brewed pot of coffee. I followed Jon to the kitchen on legs that were still shaky and he poured a cup for each of us.
“Since the storm is over, how about if we go into Backstage and you can show me what I’ve missed on there?” he asked, ready to see for himself.
I nodded and we went upstairs to the study where Jon had a laptop hooked up at a desk. It was still dark from the clouds and I turned on a lamp near the desk. It was a gorgeous room. The walls were a deep forest green and paneled with dark walnut wainscoting. It was done in a Frank Lloyd Wright style that I recognized immediately, with mission style furniture except for the burgundy leather couch and desk chair. The room was a bit chilly yet and Jon started a small fire in the big hearth near the desk.
“This is beautiful” I remarked, running my hands across the woodwork as I wandered around and looked out the old-fashioned octagonal window. I could see the ocean off in the distance. “I love this style.”
“Me too, the decorator really captured what I wanted. The copper ceiling tiles are even from an old building not far from here that they were tearing down and the skylight is from there as well too” he noted, busy with the fire.
I looked up, noticing the copper tiles and nodding. “This room has such quiet charm. Do you spend a lot of time here when you’re home?” I wondered.
“I thought I would, but I actually end up crashing in the bedroom in front of the TV most of the time. Not much need for a place to be alone when I’m alone in the whole damn house” he responded, reminding me how it hadn’t felt much like a home for a while now.
“Maybe that’ll change now when I’m here” I suggested, settling down on the sofa to wait.
He finished with the fire and sat down at the desk, turning on the computer. “Maybe if we make it out of the bedroom once in a while” he teased as the computer booted up. “Okay. We’re in. Now what?” he asked, turning to me.
I stood and moved behind him. I had to smile when I noticed the dust on the keyboard and the sticky notes stuck near the computer reminding him of passwords and such. “You really don’t get on the computer much, do you?” I smiled.
“Once in a while when I’m bored as shit. Why? How can you tell?” he said, turning to look at me.
I trailed my finger in the dust on the keyboard and pointed at the sticky notes. “It’s not hard to tell. You left clues” I said pointedly.
“Oh. Yeah” he laughed back. “I can’t remember all that damn stuff. My Mom put the notes up when she was here so I wouldn’t have to call her every time I wanted to get into here. I just have to remember what to type in where.”
“Are you logged in yet?” I asked, wondering where we were in the process.
“No. Uhmmm, let me see” he mumbled as he looked for what to do next. I put my hand over his on the mouse and moved it to the log in button. “Oh, yeah, that’s right” he grumbled and typed in Mod1 and a password. “Okay. Now what?” he asked, looking a bit stuck.
“Maybe we should trade places for a minute. Let me find some examples of what I was telling you about” I offered. Jon rose and seemed glad to turn over the keyboard. I began trolling around, looking for what might be a hot thread to begin and looking for recent posts by one of the “herd.” We had nicknamed the trouble makers the “cows”, I explained to Jon. I found a thread quickly that exemplified what I’d been describing. The head “cow” was getting snarky with someone who’d simply made a song request for one of the shows. “Here. Scroll here and read” I said, standing up.
Jon sat back down and started reading. “She only asked for a song! And she asked nicely, not like she was demanding something. What’s wrong with this other girl, this MB? She acts like the other fan had no business making a request. This is wrong” he said, reading more. I leaned over his shoulder and read as he scrolled along. The head cow’s sister had joined the fray, now picking unmercifully on the poor girl who had dared to make a request.
“This is typical, love. It happens all the time with her and her sister. You just met the head of the herd. And this is mild” I noted.
“This is wrong. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be” he said, shaking his head. “How can I stop this?” he asked.
“Wait. Let me see if I can find more” I said as we traded places. I sat down and found another thread where MB was happily sniping away at another member I knew who’d made some saucy remarks in a picture thread. “Here you go. Watch this one. And it’s live, so jump in whenever you feel like it” I encouraged.
Jon sat back down and started reading. “Fuck! What a bitch! She’s quoting rules at her. What the fuck?” he said, getting more pissed by the minute. “How do I jump in again?” he asked, getting aggravated as he’d forgotten how to post. I leaned in and moved the mouse, smiling.
“Okay, go ahead. Set her straight, babe” I prodded.
Jon couldn’t type, so it took him a little to get his thoughts out, but he blasted the head cow for being out of line. “Who do you think you are? You don’t run this board, I do, and there’s nothing wrong with what was said here. Back off *****” he typed.
“You can’t use foul language here. It automatically deletes it” I said, pointing at the screen.
“Shit. I forgot that” he said backspacing, trying to think of a word he could use.
“Wretched beast?” I prompted.
“Yeah, that’ll do” he said, not truly satisfied, but typing in order to interrupt the escalating nastiness.
“Put your name in and hit send” I coached, thoroughly enjoying this.
Jon did as directed and we watched as it came up on the screen. The posting stopped. It just literally stopped dead. Then suddenly a flurry of posts appeared questioning if it could really be him.
“Well, that certainly got their attention” I snickered.
“Yeah, and that ain’t all I’ve got to say” he said, hunting and pecking furiously now. He typed in quite a reply, blasting anyone who had the nerve to attack someone for expressing an opinion, requesting a song, or making a good ’ole lusty comment and threatening to terminate memberships if he saw it happen again. I rubbed his shoulders, tense now with frustration. I was proud of him.
“Is that too strong? Should I take out the threat?” he asked, looking at what he’d written.
“Jon, I think her past behavior warrants a strong warning. I can’t stand the bitch, though, so I’m biased” I answered honestly.
“Okay, if this is any indication of what she’s gotten away with, then the warning is long overdue” he said, hitting send. I smiled then, imagining that there were cheers going on all through “Gutter Land” and elsewhere. Score one for the good guys; cows zero.
We watched the posting frenzy that followed. Jon was beginning to enjoy this, I could see, but the Board was becoming very slow. Word was out and it was jamming up.
“You created quite a stir, you know. The ripples will be felt for quite a while. I‘m really glad you did that” I said, patting him on the head. “Thank you” I added as I was grateful that he took a stand.
He turned to face me, beaming at his own ability to incite chaos. I turned his chin up to me and kissed him.
“Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I hate that sort of shit. I’m gonna email my Mom and have her post a statement to this effect and end it once and for all” he said excitedly.
“Want another coffee before you save the world, Superman?” I teased, kissing him again. He was adorable and so proud of himself.
He looked a little sheepish then and nodded with a smirk. “I know it’s just a Fan Club, but it’s something I can have an impact on and I intend to do just that. I love my fans and I love the fact that they love me. I feel like a shit for never having paid enough attention to take care of this until now. I don’t understand why the people in charge at Backstage have let this go on. There’s gonna be some changes there, believe me” he finished.
“Good. There needs to be. I knew you weren’t going to like what it had become and if you troll around there some more, you may see other stuff too. But maybe you should log out for now so the site doesn’t crash!” I suggested. “I’ll go get us a refill” I added, taking our cups as I headed downstairs.
The phone rang and Jon was still talking when I returned with two steaming mugs. I gathered he was talking to his mother from the sound of things. I handed him the fresh cup and went to poke the fire, which was dying down now, having been unattended with all the excitement. I sat down again and took a sip as Jon looked at me and mouthed “Mom” silently.
“Yeah, okay. I’ll email you what I want you to say. Let me know what you find out. And whatever you want to do is okay with me, just so long as this nonsense stops and the mods start doing their jobs. I love you too” he said as he hung up.
“So it got back to your mom already? Wow. What happened?” I asked, curious.
“They had to lock the board or something to prevent the site from crashing. She’s pissed that the people she put in charge aren’t doing their job. Heads are gonna roll. She said not to go in there anymore for now. I’ll email her instead and she’ll put it up as a letter to the membership or an announcement or something. She’s really pissed. She knows that bitch MB and thinks she’s been distorting things and she’ll get to the bottom of it” he said, seeming more relaxed now.
We sipped our coffee and I filled him in on the history of my favorite thread, the Gutter Dwellers, in more detail than the other night.
“Wish I could have seen those comments. Sounds like you girls really knew how to have some fun. I never looked at the picture stuff. I just assumed it was all pictures and I didn’t want to see some wretched shot of myself shit-faced or doing something stupid. Especially some of those old ones; I’ll never live down the spandex years as it is, so I have no need to be graphically reminded! They just make me cringe” he laughed as I reminded him of some particularly funny ones and how we all knew he was a “lefty”.
“Shit. You’re kidding. People know that?” he said incredulously.
“Baby, we know quite a bit from careful observation of your assets” I teased him.
“Damn. Maybe it’s just as well I never read that stuff. After all, I’m really shy” he said, smirking.
“Yeah, you may be, but “lefty” sure isn’t” I kidded him.
“Okay, maybe shy is a bit of a stretch. Mind if I write that email now? I think I get the gist of what happened on there and I want to do this while it’s still fresh in my mind” he said, still laughing.
“Go ahead. I’ll leave you in peace. I need another quick shower anyway!” I said, thinking he could use some privacy and realizing it was after noon now and we needed to get ready. “I’ll make us some lunch after that. Maybe some pasta?” I asked, standing up.
“That would be great. This shouldn’t take me too long, so we can go out to lunch too if you’d rather. It looks like it’s clearing up” he replied.
I looked out the window and noticed the sun was shining again. All was right with the world.