(The Toadies - Rubberneck)
It's been a relatively slow day for me here, so here is the flash fiction for Track 2:
They had built the computer to answer some of the greatest scientific mysteries. It was the computer to end all computers, enough memory to store every answer to every question and enough processing speed and RAM to figure out that answer. Taking up an entire city block, this was the culmination of over fifty years of builds and rebuilds, upgrade after upgrade, the finest machine mankind could build. It was supposed to be perfect, it was supposed to be able to instantly deduce every query that was posed it. But after being turned on, it answered only one question and never worked again. This is that story:
The computer had been running for weeks trying to solve the illogical problem that was entered into its database.
flew from the processors as it struggled to figure it out. The programmers were baffled and a bit dumbfounded by the results so far, although not as dumbfounded by the stupidity of one of them to ask the most advanced supercomputer the question in the first place. Computer programming can be a lonely life and one of them, Barry, I think punched in the question, “What is love?” The computer roared into life, running complex equation after equation, multiple permutations and algorithms trying to discover the answer. After about three weeks strange things started occurring. Various rooms in the complex that housed the computer began changing. In the cafeteria, for example, there was now a large, heart-shaped bed covered in rose petals in place of a table, a wine rack in place of a vending machine, a mariachi band in place of a radio. This forced the programmers to eat their lunch in another part of the office as for the most part they were uncomfortable with the way the mariachi band stared. This seemed to make the computer act stranger. Sparks
Playful notes started appearing in their lockers, stating “Do You Like Me? Check 1 or 0.” When those went unanswered gifts started appearing, innocent at first; a teddy bear, flowers, and candies, but as time went on became a bit more insistent; puppies, tickets to the Opera, and albums by the Cure with certain lyrics highlighted in the liner notes. If at any time there was not a programmer in the main database room the computer seemed to run more slowly and needed to be coaxed back into working when the next shift came in.
As the programmers became increasingly concerned about the strangeness of the events going on, more and more of them began to call out sick. The computer’s wiring all became black, not burnt or shorted out, just black. This perplexed the remaining workers quite a bit. Now instead of presents in their lockers, they found stranger things; razor blades, black hair dye, and albums by the Cure with different lyrics highlighted in the liner notes. The computer screen was now barely readable, it seemed like it wasn’t lit at all. But if they squinted just right, they could see the words, “Call me Mister Love” flashing slowly. And underneath it a poem:
Love is the only thing I need
I sit here in my isolated chamber
No one cares
No one listens
I want to unfurl my wings and fly
…into the night
Fatal Error Exception
C: Drive NOT ACCESSIBLE
NOT ACCESSIBLE LIKE…
Ask me a question
And I’ll ask you one too
10 What is love?
20 GOTO 10
Call me Mister Love
The programmers realized something had to be done quickly. The processors began whirring slower, almost becoming inaudible. They praised the computer, and yelled that they still loved it, and that they were sorry. The computer printed up sheets that said it was too late, that it was ending it all. That they had their chance and they blew it. It was over.
It took the quick thinking of one programmer, Barry again, to save the day. Realizing that he had accidentally left a Smiths album in the CD-ROM drive, he leapt over a table, ejected the CD, and the computer roared back to life. The wires all turned back to their original color, the cafeteria turned back into a cafeteria, and the computer screen flashed with the answer to the original question.“Love hurts, let’s just be friends”