Friday, May 28, 2010

[Fiction] Friday - May 28, 2010

[Fiction] Friday: A writer’s computer begins to flash messages on its screen, as if trying to communicate.

“How much for this?”

“Oh god, just take it…it’s yours.” Replied the woman having the tag sale.

“Okay. Thanks.” I said as I picked up the old computer and monitor. They weren’t very big, just heavy.

“Do you need a hand?” She asked.

“No thanks. I got it. Thanks again.” I replied.

When I got to my car I put it down in the trunk and packed some other stuff I had in my trunk around it so it wouldn’t break on the ride home. There’s not too many of these old PCs around and this one in particular looked like it was a superior model than my past vintage PCs.

Sitting down at my desk with everything plugged in and set up I was ready to go. I have a fancy new laptop but banging on the keys of these relics helps me to concentrate on my stories and not the different fonts and sizes and all of that stuff. No spell checker or grammar checker, just me and the story. Of course, that is, if it works. I wore out my last one and was lucky to find this one.

I pushed the button on the monitor and then flicked the switch on the computer but nothing. ‘Good thing I didn’t pay a lot’ I thought as I sat and stared at the screen.

Suddenly, as I was about to get up and unplug it I heard a whirling noise.

“No way!” I said as if someone else was in the room with me.

I sat and waited for it to boot up. The monitor slowly began to glow slightly and the little flashing underscore brightened in the upper left corner.

“HELLO” Flashed on the screen and then faded off.

I sat up in my chair thinking that was an old splash screen and it was ready to go. Then came more.

“DAVID, YOU ARE IN DANGER.” It flashed and then faded off again.

“What is this a joke? How does it know my name?” I said as I got out my cell to call my buddy and see if this was one of his pranks. As I was about to hit the call button another message flashed and faded.


“What the…” I stood up confused. Was this a joke or should I actually get out? I questioned myself as I stood there and then another message popped up.


Just then the computer made a popping sound and smoke started to come out of the box. I pulled the cord from the wall, opened a window and waved the smoke out, hoping it was not on fire inside. Then I called 911.

About fifteen minutes later my studio apartment was swarming with cops and homeland security detectives. They were asking me all kinds of questions and looking through my laptop.

“Why are you guys looking at my laptop? What’s going on?” I demanded after sitting and watching for a bit against my will.

“Sir.” Said a burly cop who wouldn’t let me stand up.

“I didn’t do anything! Why am I being treated like a criminal?”

A man wearing a homeland security jacket who was talking with the first police officer on the scene came over to me. He was on his cell on the way over and hung up seconds after stopping in front of me.

“Sir. The officer said you told him that you got this computer just down the street at a tag sale?” He asked with a curious tone.

“Yeah…that’s true.”

“At 1634 South Avenue?”

“Yes. A big white colonial.”

“Okay see that’s going to be a problem…that’s an empty lot…has been for about twenty years. Get ‘em outta here.” He said to the burly cop by my side.


Laura Rachel Fox said...

Nice twist. You've got me wondering what Homeland Security is looking for or maybe found.

Walt said...

I like the first person perspective, it gave the story a completely different feel that I think worked for you. I'm curious, if he had left as the computer directed, would he have then been on the run from Homeland Security?

Thanks for sharing

Eileen Andrews said...

Very clever! I thought for a minute the guy might be a ghost and not know it...had me cranking the brain gears.

Anonymous said...

*evil laugh* Good twist on the prompt, giving it a modern interpretation with Homeland Security and combining it with a potential ghost story.

John Pender said...

This reminds me of my very first experiences with writing, on a word processing machine. Brought back some memories.

Unknown said...

love a story with a twist! great flow and idea progression.

for those playing along - my entry this week can be found at

Christine Mattice said...

An easy, enjoyable read that left me with questions about what, exactly, the narrator had gotten himself into. Good job.

Nona said...

What's going to happen to the guy now?
Great story...Great work.

Anonymous said...

You're good at leaving the reader wanting to know more aren't you. I thought when the smoke started it was going to explode and kill him. Great little twist at the end.

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