“It’s not that I don’t love you,” he told me once. “But if our relationship goes public, female viewership will drop.”
SwaqqxxTube’s EPIC MAIL CHALLENGE
“My pee bottle is almost full,” says my boyfriend Zeke as he holds its disgusting contents up to the camera. “But that’s alright, I’ll be out soon.” He sniffs and wipes his hand on his shirt. “I hope it’s not leaking.”
Half a million people are watching Zeke, or SwaqqxxTube as he’s better known, live streaming from a cardboard box littered with empty potato chip packets. “My back hurts,” he groans, looking plaintively into the camera. Shut up ya whiny bitch, a comment pings in response. I quickly delete it from the record. “Haters gonna hate,” Zeke would say, then diss them under my account name.
I glimpse the Australia Post van outside, a bright red eyesore amongst the other cars. Zeke stiffens. “Okay, okay,” he tells his adoring fans. “This is it. I’ve spent the last 24 hours crammed in here, my phone battery’s nearly dead, and I have no fucking clue where I am. Now-” He winces and the camera shakes as the box shifts and tilts. “Now I don’t know who’s gonna open the door,” he whispers. “I just hope they don’t beat the crap outta me.”
I watch the postal worker struggling to lift his box onto a dolly. Hopefully he’s holding onto that bottle, or it would have been broken by now. I inhale deeply, pushing the image of my piss-drenched boyfriend from my mind as I focus on the task ahead of me. “It’s easy,” Zeke had explained, despite my reluctance. “Just rip off the masking tape, act really surprised, and pretend you don’t know me. And wear that lacy top of yours – without a bra.”
“Oh, fuck it,” I’d sighed. “This is a crap idea.”
I remember that was the first time I’d really pissed him off. “Oh yeah?” He’d puffed up instantly. “Well, you think it’s easy to keep all the viewers happy and the sharks fed? Huh? What would you know, you’re a fucking waitress. Do you have any idea how fucking lonely and miserable it gets?”
Actually, I do.
The doorbell rings. It always startles me how loud and clear it is, almost as assertive as Zeke was when he’d insisted on staying for a few nights at a hotel. Just for some shots, he’d claimed, which I didn’t need to be there for. During the second night he was gone, someone started ringing the doorbell incessantly. I didn’t answer, hoping they’d think nobody was home, but they rang on for ages. The ringing wasn’t half as bad as the chilling silence afterwards – I was on the couch in my pyjamas, begging for Zeke to pick up, when I sensed someone behind me. Maybe I imagined it, but I could have sworn I saw the glint of mirrored sunglasses in the streetlight through the open window where the red van is parked now.
“Ashley Manton?” The mailman stares at my tits instead of my face. This is the first time I’ll appear in one of Zeke’s videos. Not as his girlfriend, but as eye candy. To boost male viewership, for fuck’s sake.
“No,” I tell the delivery guy firmly. I clear my throat, and raise my voice so Zeke can hear me too. “You’ve got the wrong address.”