Tech heaven or hell
|"I've got a blue spider in my neck," I said to my phone screen. I hoped my face showed boredom. Eddie, my friend and coworker could see I was faking it. Tech geeks dreamed of having a blue spider. They were illegal in just about every country in the world. But they could be purchased on the black market, if you were ready to fork over the cost of a small jet to get one. And oh my, the power it gave you to access information made you a god.
Eddie freaked out. "Awesome, man! What's it like? Is it as cool as they say?"
"I don't know yet," I said. "I haven't had it long enough to notice much of a difference."
Eddie's image frowned. "Are you putting me on? Show me the scar. If you're messing with me, I'll ..."
I held my phone camera so it would show the back of my neck where the incision was made to install the device.
" You really did. I'm coming over. Don't go anywhere," Eddie ordered.
It would take Eddie about half an hour to get here on his motorcycle. Meanwhile I tried more of the features out. I'd had the blue spider installed just this morning. So far I'd gone through the basic table of commands and tried the simple exercises. Now it was time to use it in earnest.
Looking out my apartment window, I watched a group of young women strolling along chattering like a bunch of sparrows. Using the facial recognition feature to ID the one doing the fist pump, ought to be easy. Focusing on her face, after about 10 seconds, her name popped into my mind like a memory: Heather Cook. And wonder of wonders, I knew where she lived too. It wasn't like an answer appearing on a computer screen. It was just something I now knew as if I'd always known it.
This was so cool. I looked next at the apartment building across the street and focused for 10 seconds on the overall building. I could picture each of the floor plans, and as the moments passed I remembered the names of each person who lived in the various apartments. In another few seconds, I also knew the city inspection violations. I became frightened. How do I shut off this flood of information?
I closed my eyes. With relief the new memories ceased. But the memories already gained were still in residence. Care would have to be taken on what I focused my attention on. Could I fill my brain to the brim? What would happen then? Would I be unable to take in new information? Would I stop thinking? Become like a frozen computer? How would I reboot and delete unwanted information? No, I was not a computer. But there were a finite number of cells in my head. I had to stop thinking about it or I'd drive myself crazy.
Keeping my eyes closed, I moved to my sofa and carefully felt my way into it. "Iris, play CSPAN." I heard the TV come on. Surely I could watch a game. What extra information could I possibly have to worry about just watching a game? So, I opened my eyes. A player was up to bat. I briefly glimpsed his jersey number, but I kept my eyes unfocused. It did not matter. In 10 seconds I started to remember the player's statistics. Any sports news article about him became part of my memory within the next minute. "Iris, stop CSPAN."
I stared at the TV in grief. No longer would I be able to enjoy my beloved baseball. I remembered the date I bought the TV, and the amount of the purchase. The warranty ran out 2 years ago. I snapped my eyes shut. This was hell.
There had to be some way to turn the blue spider off. Actually, I wanted it out of me. Pulling out my phone I dialed the seller's number. A voice said,"the number you have dialed is no longer in service. Please check your number and dial again." What did I expect? Of course the illegal vendors had moved.
I heard Eddie's motorcycle pull up and stop. When he knocked on my door I let him in.
"Why are your eyes closed?" he asked.
"The blue spider is out of control." I reached back and felt the stitches on the incision. There were only three. "You have to take it out."
"No way! Are you crazy? And open your eyes. You're creeping me out," Eddie said.
I opened them. Eddie was staring at me. "So," he said, "this tech is bad stuff, huh?"
I explained what had happened in just the last 30 minutes.
I had known and worked with Eddie for a long time, so I didn't realize what was happening at first. After all I really do know a lot about my friend. But I don't remember him telling me whatt his college grades were. I knew every one of them. I snapped my eyes closed again. "You have to get this thing out of me or I'm going to poke my eyes out." To my own ears I sounded a bit hysterical.
""Don't say stuff like that," Eddie said. "I'm not cutting on you." After a pause, he added, “Look, I can see you are really wierded out. If you want I will take you to the hospital."
The fear of getting arrested paled in comparison to the information fire hose. "Let's go."
Eddie said. "Take my hand. I'll lead you out to my bike."
I'm here to tell you, do not believe those black market crooks. The product is dangerous. It will drive you to madness. I'm out a lot of money for that blue spider. I've paid an enormous fine to the Feds. But I'm still sane. Oh, and on a side note, Heather Cook and I are dating on a regular basis.