by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
Thanks for this intriguing and well written tale of a curious invention. By eliminating all that makes people unique and individual--their emotion and personality--it also eliminates their chronic unhappiness in life. And of course the dopamine receptors can't get enough. Poor Harvey bears the brunt of their dissatisfaction when the inevitable happens and the device breaks. I wonder what the hordes will turn to now that both the device and Harvey are gone. Nothing good, in all likelihood.--S.
Harvey Branwadder surfaced from the backend of his pickup. “Top of the line. I got to get rid of it to pay some bills,” he lied.
What Harvey did was steal things. What he couldn’t sell from his engine puffing out blue clouds of exhaust while running on dimly lit street corners, Harvey unloaded at unsavory hockshops. “Take a look. Check it out.”
The notebook was a modern version, the size of a small laptop. He’d burgled it from a hockshop month's ago. The owner had short changed him. Someone else’s loss, his gain. The first time he’d tried to sell it, the strangest thing happened. Now the miracle was routine.
The thing glowed when the newest stranger opened the screen. “Yes?” it said.
Harvey stepped back. “Got a friend here, wants to meet you. Be nice.” Harvey leered, thrusting the computer into willing hands. “Call her Suzy Q. Blink. She’ll get your retinal image stored and you’ll be friends for life.”
“System processing,” spoke the well modulated female tones of the notebook. The shifting light from the screen reflected in the stranger’s eyes held the figure captive like a moth to flame. All sense of emotion and personality was slowly sucked dry. There is no greater prison than one’s own body.
A stir, a twitch, as if awakening from the dead was followed by a long sigh, “Wow. Unbelievable. Sign me up again.” Harvey accepted the praise along with cash in hand for the rental time with the unit. Another satisfied customer would be spreading the word to a wider audience.
It was time to jack the price up, again. This product was more addictive than any drug. The best side benefit is that every one of his victim’s would do anything to protect Harvey and his notebook. In their eyes he was a ministering angel if not God. “Thank you, brother, spread the word.”
Witnessing a meeting between the notebook screen and a supplicant was like watching the blind see, the lame walk, better than any miracle found at a revival tent. The innermost prayerful yearning secret wish vibrated into an unseen link between the screen and the mind that beheld it. “Go with God.”
Harvey was scared of the thing. Greed kept him going. Losing control was his worst nightmare. “Look at them. All end up looking the same numbed out human replicas of themselves.”
None spoke of the personal vision they had seen. Each went through the motions of living and breathing, waiting patiently for their next turn at the tit.
“It broke.” Harvey shrugged off the look of terror in his visitor’s eyes. “Wore out. See for yourself.”
Another fallen God, a religion of lost faith, the true believers came together to worship one last time. Urban legend has it not one of Harvey’s bones was not broken, one muscle stretched, torn apart. This is the sacrifice all unmasked God’s become, when shown to be all too human.
Harvey became nothing in the end.