“You’re kidding!” Dasad laughed, nearly dribbling coffee onto the table. “They left it up? On the screen?”
“No, no, no,” I said, waving my hands, as if brushing away the misconception. “It’s what the address bar listed. You know how when you start typing, Firefox offers a few of the popular searches from the last week? Apparently, someone’s been visiting frequently. All I typed was a ‘H’ and the site appeared, right below Hulu.”
“What was the name again?” my friend smiled, baiting me.
“Hotmoms.com . . . or something like it.” My friend’s squeals filled the entire cafe like a fire alarm. If the coffee and caffeine had failed in its primary function, curiosity and Dasad’s laughter proved a jolt of adrenaline. Even the baristas stared, whispering behind the counter and consulting their watches. Only a boy and girl continued to ignore us, racing Hotwheels across a neighboring tabletop. I lowered my voice.
“Maybe, Milfmovies.com. I don’t remember. Only that it was a porn site filled with . . . moms or pregnant women. I don’t know. But one of my brothers gets off on this crap, dude. Stop laughing! This is serious! One of my brothers is a pervert!”
The previous night, I had sat down to play Orcs Must Die on the Xbox while checking my email between load screens. The basement doubles as the family man-cave (in addition to my sleeping chamber), a refuge for us boys from parental censors and thus a sanctuary for gamers and underage drinkers alike. Hell, I don’t know even know what the guys do in the other room long after I’ve gone to bed and the shouts from Call of Duty and Rock Band fade into dreamscapes. Firefox had offered a glimpse into the boy’s social life, I’d just rather left unknown and undiscovered.
Dasad wiped the tears from his eyes.
“Why? Because you realized your brothers are healthy heterosexual males?”
“Yes . . . no. They’re all still kids to me, babies whose diapers I changed and rocked to sleep” I sighed, watching the Hotwheel crash onto the floor. “I mean, I knew . . . know they’re getting older, but . . . such weird stuff. Maxim and Victoria Secret is one thing. You don’t think that it’s just a pop-up . . . like an ad from some other less disturbing porn site.”
“No way,” he said shaking his head. “It’s like Christmas morning. You have to open that stuff up if you’re finding it on the address bar. Still speaking of strange sexual habits . . . ”
Dasad sat his coffee on the table, now a colluded mixture of coffee puddles, tears and soaked sugar packets.
“Are you going to commit to Japan or not?”
Dasad and I had met last Friday to grab sushi, coffee and an 11pm showing of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus at the local theater. Amid talk of family, job, and my brother’s perversion, Dasad had invited me to Japan this November for a week of sushi, sightseeing, and adventure. His family was intent on visiting family in the Philippine islands and Japan was only a three-hour hop by plane.
“You’ll have to fly over by yourself, but we’ll meet up once I arrive,” he coerced. “We’ll see the whole island, eat like kings on Thanksgiving, and visit all your anime shops. You’ll need another suitcase for all the comics, figures and videos you’ll inevitably buy. Come on! You can’t miss out on this.”
Honestly, I didn’t need much coercion. For an American otaku (anime fan), Japan is like the holy land, our Mecca for mecha, and capital for sword-totting samurai sorceresses. The language barrier worried me some, but that could be remedied with some study and perhaps even a tour group. Besides, Tokyo with its highrises and international business centers must offer some lingual remedies to the traveling American. And though the trip would coincide with Thanksgiving, which I had never missed once in the last thirty years, the family would forgive my absence provided I offer fair warnings. After all how often does such an opportunity present itself?
No, what truly worries me is the radiation. Since the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant last year, after the sudden earthquake and resulting tsunami that landed off the island’s Eastern shore, I’m a little concerned that we might come back either mutated or riddled with tumors. Considering the warnings from California about radiated tuna, reaching the West Coast, I’m fairly alarmed on how well a tourist might fair after a week of eating and drinking homegrown Japanese food. I can only imagine the holidays after exposure:
“Merry Christmas Mom! I bought you a kimono and developed a taste for human flesh!” Enter Patient Zero.
Still — zombification notwithstanding — this should prove a chance of a lifetime. If I let my fear overwhelm me, then I would regret my decision for the rest of my life. And of all human maladies, regret I cannot bear. It’s even worse than unemployment and the undead.
“The radiation,” he reminded me again, “is comparable to New York. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
Right, or New York has some serious issues.
“What the hell . . . I’m in,” I say after a few minutes contemplation and a long swill of coffee.
“Terrific!” Dasad exclaimed. “This will be awesome! And don’t worry about anything else. You’ll have a great time. Like your brothers at a maternity ward . . .” He fell into another raucous display of laughter.
“Low blow, dude,” I muttered. “Doesn’t that bother you, though? If you discovered your lil’ brother’s collection of whips and butt-less chaps.
“So what?” he asked with a shrug. “Everybody has their fetishes. For some people its feet. The Japanese have their plush Dollfies and animated girls.” — touche, sir — “Your brothers like . . . Moms. What that says about your brothers’ fantasies, I can only guess. That Oedipal stuff freaks me out.”
“And what about you?”
“Me? I’m perfectly normal,” he says indifferently. “I’m the most normal guy in this room.”
“Dude, you were all over Angelina Jolie back in college. That’s a fetish all its own.”
He nearly spits coffee onto the table again.
“S-she was . . . Lara Croft,” he stammers as I grab more towels. “Tomb Raider, man. That’s sexy!”
“Her eyebrows were the size of Delaware. She resembles the love-child between Groucho Marx and a soccer hooligan. That’s just the superficial qualities. I won’t even mention the vial of blood and penchant for third-world orphans . . .”
“Okay,” Dasad interrupted heatedly, “radiation or not, one more slight against Angelina, and you won’t return from Japan. She’s an angel, man! An angel!”
We stride from the cafe, coffee in hand and Dasad muttering beneath his breath: ‘Her eyebrows aren’t that big.’ A brand new adventure waited for us in five months time . . . that is if we didn’t kill each other before then.