It was just an email.
He was watching a video on YouTube, one suggested for him by the algorithm. It was something he would like, according to his usage. And he did. It was a pretty girl trying on hats while talking about a snowstorm in Canada and why she never learned the difference between term and whole life insurance and why she never would. Dumb stuff, but funny. The girl wore a low top and made funny faces.
He wondered who was there with her. Probably nobody. Just her and the laptop’s video camera. Yet, she could be awful funny in her room by herself with those hats, talking about what it’s like to be really hungry for green vegetables — especially green beans — with two feet of snow on the ground and no life insurance.
She probably had family there, in another room. Maybe her mother. She was young enough. Maybe her children. She was old enough. YouTube must be her hobby. She spends her days at work planning what funny stuff to do and then at night, she makes the videos.
Then it came, with a loud ding. He paused the video while she was changing hats and snapped to it and there it was.
It felt warm because the air in the room was cool and he breathed less of it now.
Nobody had ever called him a name like that before.