This is not your average Danielle Steel tale. But it is one where the reported facts would surely make Nabokov want to immediately finger his keyboard.
It begins with a simple, everyday event: a 16-year-old Canadian boy met an older woman online while playing World of Warcraft.
The Toronto Globe and Mail described in some detail how the youth from Barrie, Ontario, enjoyed an online relationship with a 42-year-old mother of four from Houston. In our modern, socially entangled world, these things happen.
What perhaps happens slightly less often is everything that reportedly followed. Including the rather difficult ending.
The teen's parents reportedly had known about this relationship for more than a year, but believed that their son would not divulge any personal information to his online friend. However, on December 29, the woman traveled to Ontario to see the boy, who reportedly asked his parents if it'd be OK for him to go and see her at a nearby hotel.
It should be said at this point that the Globe and Mail described how the boy is a World of Warcraft addict whose parents had fought hard to curb his habit. They had taken away his computer and only restored this privilege on the advice of a psychologist.
When the boy asked his parents for permission to have a play date, his parents said no. At 2 a.m., he reportedly slipped out of his house and went to see her anyway. He was missing for two days. Canadian police found him after a tip-off. Neither he nor the woman reportedly expressed anything approaching regret.
Still, no Canadian laws were broken.
Here is the third act. The woman traveled back to Houston. On arriving at Bush Intercontinental Airport, she was, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, arrested. She has been charged with two counts of online solicitation of a minor and one count of child enticement.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the age of consent in Canada is 16. The age of consent in Texas is 17. And the teen had reportedly told the woman he was 20.
I would now like to go on an expedition with any reader who has a GPS of sufficient fine tuning to point me in the direction of the moral high ground in this story.
Who amongst you casts the stone that that the boy's parents didn't try hard enough? Who amongst you casts for the woman to receive punishment? And who, perhaps, wonders how different jurisdictions reach a conclusion about what age it is appropriate to do certain things and not others?