"I. WILL. BLOCK. YOU!", the boy in front of the notebook screamed, almost pulling out his own hair as he watched sanity fading away.
Sitting on the sofa in the living room, Team watched the scene that had been repeated a few times in the last few weeks, somewhat used to that reaction.
"Did your fan leave a comment again?", he asked with a smile that knew the answer before he actually got it.
"TEAM! HE'S NOT A FAN!", Pharm turned quickly towards his best friend and housemate, eyes burning with anger, until he realized he was pushing himself a little over the edge. "I'm sorry! This 'd_rw' will drive me insane!", the boy sighed emptying his lungs and lowering his shoulders as a sign of defeat.
Pharm had started a cooking channel on YouTube and was really proud of his achievements so far: he already had a consistent audience and several advertising contracts because of it. However, just as he gained fans, he also noticed the arrival of haters. Or "hater", singular, if he were to be more exact.
The comments complaining about his appearance or ideas of dishes to show on the channel weren't the ones to mess with his peace, the boy knew he could not please everyone with his style. However, this certain user lived for the sole purpose of provoking him and Pharm felt compelled to respond at every turn because he couldn't control himself to do the opposite.
"This time he commented, and I quote, 'You should have warned people to use a large pot. I almost had an accident trying to make the soup in a frying pan.'", Pharm read the absurd words with wide eyes and then watched his friend's reaction, who looked as surprised as he was. "Really, Team! Who in the world would do that?! Cooking soup in a frying pan and blaming me?!", he sighed in despair as he gestured between himself and the notebook, as if the last one was a representative of the guy that provoked him so much.
Pharm was starting to get frustrated reading that sort of thing in every single video he'd been posting lately. However, knowing full well that he had given up a steady job in the field he had graduated from to devote himself fully to the culinary channel he created, the man knew he couldn't take his own pride into account.
"What are you going to answer?", Team asked already anticipating his friend's reaction.
"The usual…", Pharm took a deep breath and repeated the sentence that had become a constant in the last few weeks.
"I will try to warn people about this detail next time! Thanks for your suggestion!"
Pharm typed in the answer and hit "send", turning to the window with a mug of coffee in hand. It was no use getting irritated by such nonsense. He let his mind and gaze wander over the landscape there until he was completely distracted.
His serenity had already returned after finishing his cup, when he decided to check for new comments. Some compliments, suggestions and oops! A new response from "d_rw": "Better late than never, I guess."
"I. DON'T. BELIEVE. THIS. GUY!", he blurted out again and couldn't see his friend laughing from the living room. It was always like this: the hater would send an absurd comment, Pharm would respond kindly, and the guy would send a rude or even worse response than the first message, managing to get the placid Pharm out of his usual good mood.
It was possible to see that his big brown eyes were getting covered by a glowing veil indicating tears about to be shed, so Team decided to do something. The boy got up from the sofa and walked to where his friend was at the table placed at the small kitchen of the apartment they shared. Stepping behind the chair Pharm occupied, Team gently touched his shoulders and began a soothing massage.
"Why don't you try to send a private message to this guy and talk to him? Maybe if you two meet in person you'll be able to understand each other better and put an end to it!", Team suggested.
"Team, look at this guy's profile picture! You can see he's a real asshole!", Pharm turned to his friend and blurted it out in a way that didn't fool the other. It certainly showed that he had already done some research on the user behind the nasty comments sent to him. “I checked his Instagram profile and breaking news: he hasn't posted anything in 6 months! 6 months!”, Pharm crossed his arms in front of his chest and followed to his conclusion. "He's probably a psychopath and if I meet him in person, at the very least, he'll kill me because he was crazy enough to make soup in a frying pan!" the boy shook his head to himself, ending his beautiful analysis about the criminal's profile, that is, the hater. "Besides, if I ever get a chance to meet him, at the very least I'll want to punch that resting bitch face of his!"
"What do you mean by that?, Team asked curiously.
"Let me show you!", Pharm said opening a browser tab and typing some letters which were fastly recognized by the autocomplete history. Within seconds, Pharm's hater profile appeared and Team recognized the profile photo the guy was using in his IG account as well. "See this photo? It looks like a swimming team or something… everyone is smiling at the camera, except him! This screams 'psychopath', Team! I'm telling you!", Pharm said in a way that seemed a bit obsessive on him.
"Alright, Pharm! As you wish!", Team said patting his friend's head affectionately. "But you're not really going to do that, are you? If you two meet?", the boy who was still standing suddenly asked the cook.
"Of course not, Team! He's the crazy one!", Pharm said rolling his eyes. "But I will certainly teach him about manners!", he said with a determined tone that looked very cute and daring in his angelic face.
"This will be interesting…", Team thought and smiled at his friend, but reserved himself the right to only nod at the other's statement.
A few days later...
Pharm had arrived from the supermarket with the groceries, but found himself unable to enter his own apartment. Dueling with bags with various products and the key chain that couldn't seem to find the lock at all, he began to feel the ice cream melting in one of his arms and wetting his sleeve. That's when he heard a low voice.
"May I help you?"
Without thinking too much, Pharm accepted the stranger's offer. "Oh yes! Please!", the boy said awkwardly from behind the bags that were quickly removed from his embrace by large, delicate hands without effort.
Without paying close attention to who his hero was, Pharm turned to open the door and when he heard the distinctive "click" of the lock indicating it was open, he turned to the stranger to retrieve his groceries back.
"Thank you so much for your help, I--", he stopped his action midway after carefully observing his savior's face for the first time. A face he could easily recognize even among the largest crowd.
"Oh. My. God! I'm going to start screaming now! Have you turned into a stalker?!", Pharm asked, scared, using his arms to protect himself from the man who looked much taller than in the few photos he had found in his social media. None other than "d_rw" was in front of him using his groceries as hostages.
"Don't be silly, kid!" d_rw said rolling his eyes and sighing. "I live across the hall." And seeing that Pharm didn't seem convinced by this fact, he explained further: "I moved here about 6 months ago! Your housemate keeps borrowing things like sugar or milk from us!"
"Ah, so that's why Team gets the ingredients so fast when I ask him to buy something!", Pharm thought to himself, but still a bit wary at the confirmation that his biggest hater was, in fact, his neighbor!
"...thanks for noticing my existence, by the way!", the man was saying something in a sarcastic tone, but Pharm couldn't pay attention to what it was because in his mind his last brain cells were replaying the conversation he had with Team about teaching a lesson to the guy who was now standing in front of him.
"You! YOU!", Pharm began very eloquently, trying to get his revenge. But Team was right, he wasn't capable of doing anything too drastic. It wasn't his way of dealing with life's problems. In fact, whenever he felt sad or angry, his first reaction was to cook something and… this was when an idea came to his mind.
"Is that your apartment?", Pharm pointed at the unit across the hall with his slender finger, earning a nod in confirmation from the taller man.
"That's exactly what I just explained! My God, you're kind of clueless off the internet too, aren't you?", d_rw teased the shorter guy with disdain.
Pharm snorted indignantly at the rude remark directed at his person who was usually described as kind and gracious, but soon pulled himself together. He retrieved the bags from his enemy's arms and then said menacingly before entering the apartment:
"Good to know! You can wait for what's to come! You'll hear from me, D underline RW!", Pharm said entering the house, closing the door with his foot and leaving a very confused neighbor in the hallway.
"Hey, I have a name! It is Dean, you weirdo!", the man yelled and then looked around to make sure no one but the smaller male inside the apartment had heard his random outburst. It wouldn't do his reputation any good to be seen losing his temper over an argument like that!