The Map Boy: A Tale of Forbidden Love

The tension between Chris Cuomo and Map Boy

Note: A bit of backstory is required here. I haven’t written anything in a long time and this would appear to be a totally random mess of shit to just plop up here. So let me explain...

Over the four days of the election, a bunch of us were addicted to the r/politics election threads on Reddit, and these became rather unhinged into the late hours of the morning. You know, a bunch of drunken and anxiety-ridden redditors binge-watching CNN waiting for any election update we could find. In this horrendous atmosphere some strange things started happening. The entire sub became thirsty over any news reporter that took up working the late-night hours of the election. People started to become bored and created their own wild narratives about the presenters. The most noteworthy is the ‘saga’ between Map Boy (Phil Mattingly) and Chris Cuomo. Between these two professional newscasters reddit started to see ‘sexual tension,’ as if Cuomo and Map Boy had some urge to be together and make passionate love during the 2020 election. This turned into a full-fledged meme and Map Boy seemed to be a temporary celebrity.

So drunk on Friday I decided to actually write some bullshit fanfic about Chris Cuomo and Map Boy. I wrote two ‘chapters’ totally out of no where and I found them hilarious enough to post. Yes, they’re stories, yes, I’d written them, but obviously there isn’t much ‘deep artistic inspiration’ going on here. Enjoy!

Part One

Chris Cuomo had been working at CNN for a long time. Taking part in the grind, reporting stories he didn’t care that much about but faking interest at whatever he was tasked with. It was a decent job with decent pay, but somehow seemed to lack the passion of what he thought reporting would be like.

And then the shitshow 2020 election happened.

There he was one day…The Map Boy. He didn’t know his name — some random young hunk that had to take over after John King had to go to bed in the early morning hours of November 4 — but something about him intrigued him. He couldn’t pinpoint it exactly. Map Boy’s way of shyly not holding eye contact with him, or maybe his attempt at dominance while still cowering in fear around Cuomo, a fake display of masculinity that Map Boy just couldn’t hold to. Chris found it strangely appealing.

Maybe this was the passion that Cuomo was missing in his job and in his life. But yet, here he was right here in front of him playing the Magic Wall like a classical instrument of old. A young master of his domain, and Cuomo wanted to learn more about Map Boy even if he didn’t understand why.

Cuomo knew his wife wouldn’t understand his blossoming feelings. The mystery — why do I feel this way? — and the intrigue of it all. He wasn’t sure what Map Boy stood for, but it was something magical and something that he had yearned for his entire life…

Part Two

And one day, in the wee hours of November 7 (not that anyone knew what day it was by this time), something happened.

It was something small, one of those tiny and insignificant moments in life that seems to speak to the beauty and depth of it all, something so small that Cuomo didn’t realize it at the time and only had importance in retrospect.

“This, right here,” Map Boy said fingering his magical wall delicately, “Is Delaware County. We’re expecting….” and Cuomo drifted off in a daze. Those fingers. His artisanal skill mesmerized him.

But there was a problem. Map Boy was fingering the wrong county, caressing Allegheny County instead. It was an honest mistake, both of them being delirious from the endless sleep-deprived hours reporting on the endless election.

Cuomo, being the dominant one of the team, pointed this out.

“Map Boy, I think you’re pointing to Allegheny County, not Delaware County.”

Map Boy glanced at him and instantly broke eye contact. “No. This is…this is Delaware County, Chris.” He fingered the map seductively again.

“No, Map Boy, Delaware County is over here.” Cuomo reached across the Magic Wall, moving ever closer to Delaware County and Map Boy himself his hands quivering from lack of sleep, caffeine, or anxiety;  he didn’t know why he was shaking. Map Boy, drained of sleep, reflexively moved his hand downward to shoo the unwelcomed visitor away from his Magic Wall. And then to Cuomo’s surprise, as they touched skin, a lightning bolt landed in his brain. In his heart. In his whole body; they touched for a fragment of a second. Time stopped. It was just him and Map Boy. Together in the world. Nothing mattered anymore and any worries about counties or ballot totals vanished instantly.

Map Boy and him locked eyes, only for an infinite split-second, and moved their hands apart. It was the first move of an avalanche, nothing that either of them could stop or control, but it was in motion. And nothing could stop it…