It has romance. It has betrayal. It has blood. And, of course, it has .coms. Will Martha trade her human for a five-digit .com with two 8's? You're just going to have to read and find out. (It's a practice short story I wrote centered on the topic of domaining) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- IMMORTAL DOMAINERS, CHAPTER 1 In the early morning hours, at the Always Dark Bar and Grill... "So have you given any thought to the idea of bringing Ryan over to our side?" Courtney bellowed, her cig-cherry flying from her animated hand. "That's...that's a pretty personal question," Martha answered, her head cocked to gaze upon the object of her (diminishing) obsession. "Oh, come on," Courtney replied, "it's not like everyone can't see it. I mean, that you have a thing for him. I say claim him before some other Immortal Domainer does." Martha scratched her cheek. "I don't know...it's just such a big responsibility, bringing someone over. You have to take care of them for at least 100 years. And that's a lot of time to spend with someone, if you really don't deep, down--" "Love them," Courtney interrupted. "You're not sure if you love him? I mean, he's handsome, he's really built, he has great hair, and have you ever seen shoulders like those, anywhere?" "It's true. He's a prime cut. And the way he tastes..." "What type is he?" Courtney asked. "O-negative." "O-negative? Are you serious? Girl, I'll put up with that shit for 100 years if he's really an O-negative." Courtney smashed her cigarette on the bar table. "He's really an O-negative?" "Yes, he's an O-negative." "Oh my God!" Courtney exclaimed. "I've gotta try him. You've gotta let me try him!" "Courtney!" Martha said scoldingly. "I don't like to think of humans as property, to be bartered with and--" "How about one of those Chinese domains you've been eyeing? One from my portfolio?" Courtney interrupted. Martha paused and feigned a look of deep contemplation. "You mean one of the 5-digit .coms?" she asked. "That's what I mean!" "One with two 8's?" "Now hang on," Courtney replied, reaching for her purse. "I never said anything about two 8's." "That's what I want. One with two 8's." Martha projected firmness in her decision. "If I give you one with two 8's I want more than a meal," Courtney replied, removing a cigarette from her pack of American Spirits. "Courtney!" Martha screamed indignantly. "I will not pimp my human out. I will absolutely not do that for any domain!" "Not even for blood.com?" Courtney flicked the wheel on her lighter. "You don't have blood.com." "How do you know that?" Courtney took a satisfying, chemical-free drag from her freshly lit cigarette. "Cut the shit, Courtney. I'm not going to waste my time answering hypothetical questions. I'm not going to pimp Ryan out for any of your domains." "Okay then. How about one meal, and one of your domains? A .com. A dictionary .com." Martha looked concerned. "Which one?" "Why don't you pull up your portfolio on your iPhone and I'll take a look." Martha reluctantly removed her iPhone from her pocket, unlocked it with her thumbprint, and opened the GoDaddy app, located in the first position on her home page. She handed her iPhone to Courtney. [The negotiating ensues for a few minutes, until an agreement is reached. A few moments pass, during which time the earth spins an entire degree.] "But I was really hoping you'd feed on me tonight," Ryan whined. "Ryan," Martha gazed into Ryan's eyes. "I'm doing this for you. You've never had any other, besides me. There are a lot of things you haven't experienced, that I won't be able to show you. You should know how it feels to have someone else feed on you." "But I want you to feed on me. Then after I regain enough strength I can rub your back, or maybe even give you a massage." "Now Ryan, I've had a long day. I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm--" "Then feed on me, right now. If you're hungry, feed on me." Ryan's eyes moistened. He placed his wrist in front of Martha's face. Martha's fangs emerged for a second, then retracted. She turned and walked the other direction. Full-blown tears streamed down Ryan's face. He began walking towards Martha, but was stopped when he felt a pair of closely-spaced protrusions, harder than any steel, pierce into his shoulder. [The night passes, as Courtney has a heaping helping of the most delicious O-negative she's ever tasted. Courtney, Ryan, and Martha meet at the "Always Dark Bar and Grill" at 9:00 am the following morning.] "Ryan, are you okay?" Martha screamed. "I'm okay," Ryan weakly uttered. He took his hand off the table previously supporting his weight and felt himself falling backwards. He instinctively grabbed the tablecloth, and took the contents of the table with him. It all ended with an uppercase CRASH!!! Conversations ceased. Immortal Domainers retracted their fangs and peered up from their humans in hopes of fresh excitement. "Courtney!!!" Martha screamed. You drained him! You drank him dry! If you'd drank 5 more cubic centimeters of him, you would have killed him." "Actually, I did die last night," Ryan muttered. "You died?" Martha shrieked. "Yeah, but Courtney brought me back." "He didn't die!" Courtney replied. "He just had a little bout of cardiac arrest. I always keep an AED nearby for situations like that. And I always have fresh plasma in the fridge." "Situations like what? Situations where you suck almost all the blood out of someone else's human, when you've made a deal in good faith with them that you won't drink more than two quarts?" "A deal?" Ryan croaked. "A deal," Courtney answered. "Your Immortal Domainer here made a little trade. Your blood for one of my domain names. "You did, Martha?" Ryan asked, his eyes moistening. Martha paused and conveyed a genuine look of deep contemplation. "Yes, I did. But it's not like I made the trade for just any old stupid domain. I traded for a five-digit .com, with two 8's." "You and your god-damned .coms! You'd do anything for a .com, wouldn't you?" Ryan attempted to get up off the floor, but only managed to flail his arms helplessly. "Tell me. Can you touch a .com? Can you feel a .com? Can a .com put its arms around you, and hold you all through the night?" "Ryan, it's that kind of shit that makes me want to treat you like an object. I mean, all of your Shakespearean drama that ends with great big old crocodile tears in your eyes. Sometimes I wish you'd just be a man." "I can hold you, Martha. I can put my 18" biceps around you, and you can know that all night long, no matter what happens, no matter what cosmic event, or seismic event that might happen, I won't let go." "Did you hear anything I just said, Ryan? I don't get off on your 'guy in touch with his emotional side' stuff. I need you to be more of a man." "Oh, so I'm not man enough for you?" Ryan wiped the tears from his cheeks with his sleeves and tried to look more manly. "Sometimes you're not, to be honest. I'm sorry to say that, but that's how I feel, and I can't help it. If I could change my feelings and be okay with you acting like such a woman, I would. Because God knows you're one hunk of a man, and you taste so good..." Martha recalled the Heaven-like delight found in Ryan's delectable O-negative blood. "If you could change your feelings?" Ryan sniffled. "I didn't think Immortal Domainers had feelings." He tried futilely to fight back a sob, and soon the tears were irrigating his cheeks again. "Now you're just being mean," Martha said. "That was a low-shot. You know, I've never taken any low-shots with you. Right now, Ryan, all I'm telling you is that this isn't working out for me. I think we should see other..." Martha paused to find the appropriate terminology to complete her statement. "You should see other humans, and I should see other heartless, Satan-serving Immortal Domainers. That's what you're trying to say." "Ryan, now you're not just being a dick, you're being an idiot. You know I don't believe in Satan. And I think I'd be in a better position to know if there was Satan, with all the rumors about me being associated with Satan." "You're not just 'associated' with Satan." Ryan wiped his cheek. "You're Satan's daughter." "Okay Ryan, I'm going to walk away right now, because if you say one more horrible thing like that I might just finishing draining you." Tears welled up in Martha's eyes. She began a march towards the exit. "Trade me for a .com, and then break up with me after you've gotten something useful from me." Ryan's voice was considerably firmer. Martha stopped, turned her head part way, then moved it back, and left the Always Dark Bar And Grill.