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Monday, March 07, 2005

THE SOLDIER'S MISTRESSES

When I last heard from Dane Street, he had left his Second Life and his sister Mistress Midnight behind for one more year of duty in Iraq. There'd been a lull in communication, leaving her and their real life family and their mutual Second Life friends wondering if he was safe and how he was doing-- posted as he was in a camp outside Fallujah.

Aimee Weber finally heard back from Dane a couple weeks ago.

"He has Internet," she tells me. "Apparently a fast connection, so we were in Instant Message. He can't install Second Life because they are government computers. He says things are totally quiet over there. Like NOTHING is going on. I guess he is so hyped up for battle that quiet makes him really nervous."

"He said that he was cold and bored a lot," Mistress Midnight expands to me later. "And they're staying right now in a building with no flowing water, but with Internet."

I meet Ms. Midnight for an update at the black and gold donation donation box that she's built for her brother and the other boys of his battalion, in Midnight City (Umber/100/127). That's where she's been taking Linden Dollar donations through Victoria Lament, an alternate account she created for this express purpose, converting these L$ donations into US$, to buy and ship care packages to them-- the "Treats for our Troops" fund, as she calls it.

When she arrives, Mistress is joined at the box by Aimee and Torrid Midnight, another friend and Dane supporter, and since all three of them are established fashion mavens (as reported here, here, and here), a few simple screenshots quickly become more like a Maxim magazine photoshoot, or some kind of virtual USO-- an online cheesecake spread uploaded For The Boys. In previous wars, American servicemen stuck photos of Betty Grable or Raquel Welch above their bunks. Now they can have hot babe avatars to use as screensavers on their computer terminals-- even in a building outside Fallujah with broadband Internet but no running water.

Then again, there's worse things to worry about, than lack of plumbing.

"He won't tell me about anything dangerous," Mistress says, in between poses.

"Well, he doesn't want you to worry, is all," Torrid Midnight points out, vamping beside her.

"He's told me the big 'deal' has passed," Mistress goes on. "If anything was gonna happen, it would have been around the [Iraqi] election. He said things were surprisingly calm, and he's decided when he gets home, he's going to buy a Corvette."

Torrid Midnight makes a face. "Out of one kind of danger into another... pfft."

"And I am yelling at him for buying a Corvette," Aimee adds, "when he should be stashing the cash for school." Aimee's lounging on the grass by the box, her violet butterfly wings flapping as she speaks. "I want Dane to go to an Ivy," she adds.

"He's pretty," Mistress agrees, "like a Harvard boy."

"Corvettes are dangerous cars," Torrid presses, "And I'm sure he's not going to drive it nicely at the speed limit."

"Pfft, Dane can handle a Corvette," Aimee counters, "but he shouldn't blow his money on shtoopid sports cars."

"You say he can handle it," Torrid frets, "But he's a young man! And they like speed!"

Mistress Midnight offers a diplomatic alternative.

"But if he wants to spend money on something fun and silly (the American way) I'm okay with it. He's allowed amnesty from stupid spending, and smoking for now." After all, she adds, "I once pulled a blanket from under him and he fell head first into a brick fireplace."

Now Aimee is actively joining Torrid's anti-Corvette lobby: "No, Mis. [Dane should] spend it on school, and then in five years he can have a Corvette for every mood."

Eventually, I have to interrupt this passionate debate over what Dane Street should buy with his own combat pay, to ask what Mistress Midnight has bought, from the donations to the box and Victoria Lament, which have so far totalled more than the Linden Dollar equivalent of US$80.

"I bought subscriptions online to a few magazines, and the rest has been just random treats, baby wipes, Cheez-Its, Doritos, beef jerky," she says. (As it happens, baby wipes are an indispensable tool for battling the layers of dust and sand the troops get covered with, while on duty.)

"Hmm," Mistress continues, "Ritz and Cheeze Whiz, the little lunch sized juice boxes, and I'm going to head out and get more candy on my way [to the shipping center.] Honestly, it's a lot of what we'd say is junk, but that's what he misses the most. I'm really happy people are donating, little or big, it all helps, and it's not just going to Dane-- also going to people he's with right now."

"Now we should all take nudes and have you send those," suggests Torrid.

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LOL that would be the last comment made in the article Hamlet. Nudes for all!

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We should leave mistress out of that plan. Being Dane's SISTER and all.

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