“Hey, did you hear that new Daft Punk album? It was pretty sick,” says Jude.
“Nah, I didn’t, but it seemed legit,” responds DJ.
Judy Bernice Fisher, or "Jude" for short, is spending the evening with her friend Derrick "DJ" Malik Johnson. They both sit at the dinner table in Jude’s apartment, playing League of Legends and talking about life. The apartment is virtually bare—minus the poorly put together Ikea end table, the second-hand couch (with mismatching throw pillows), and the cheapest Rent-A-Center kitchen table money can buy. To match the room’s hodge podge decor, a combined odor of old pizza and mountain mist air freshener looms over the entire living space. This is a typical Sunday evening for them. Nothing special. Yet.
“Bro, I’m trying to tell you! That ho even had Pharrell on it. Instant classic. Hands down,” exclaims Jude.
DJ just shakes his head and chuckles, “Sure man. Whatever you say.”
Jude shoots him a sideways glance across the table. She holds this puzzled pose for a minute, making sure that DJ takes notice. DJ asks, "What’s up, bruh? Is there an issue you want to discuss?”
Jude sits up straight, clears her throat with the grand gesture of a cough and a shoulder shake, then proceeds to say, "What’s with the attitude, boy? You don’t think I have good taste in music or something?”
Perplexed, DJ sits back and rocks a little in his chair. “Bruh, you know the last album you suggested to me?” Jude shakes her head, unsure of what point he’s attempting to make and still mad that he refuses to acknowledge her musical expertise. “It was I Am Not A Human Being 2…How do you think I feel about your opinion when you give me shit like that to listen to?”
“Hey now, don’t talk about Wayne like that, you non-believer. That CD had some legit bangers on it.”
“It had 4, to be specific. Don’t try to claim that shit as perfection, son. Nobody wanted it, and nobody needed it. You know it just as much as me.”
Jude shakes her head with disgust. She visibly can’t believe the insanity that’s spewing out of DJ’s mouth. She refuses to let such a slight go unpunished. Without hesitation, she closes out LoL and goes to Google (because Google is G0D). Every review she comes across keeps saying the same thing. “This album is trash! The only thing I would do with this album is castrate myself with it, then use the blood that flows from the wound as ink for the angry letter I’d send to this man telling him how much I hate him with my final, dying, pen strokes!”
Damn, Jude thinks, these guys have no chill. She keeps scrolling, but it seems as if nothing positive exists about this album—until Jude stumbles upon a good review. It’s from a website called “wedontgetpaidforthis.forreal.com”. Around the site, there are nothing but pictures of Lil’ Wayne. These range from Lil’ Wayne standing with his gun in hand to Lil’ Wayne standing with his “gun” in hand. She can tell this site is going to get weird pretty fast.
But right before she clicks the back button, an ad catches her attention. It’s a fairly simple ad. It was probably made by someone with very little eye for attention to detail and even less attention to the English language. [a]The ad has a very bland, generic, and uninteresting text that is only made worse by it[b] having a color scheme that consists of only varying shades of black and yellow. All it says is: “Prove your friend wrong with 1-click, you ding dong!” Mainly offended by being called a ding dong, Jude clicks the back button. But nothing happens. She clicks again. This time, the ad changes. “Where do you think you’re going, punk? You’re not getting away from this.” Jude clicks the button again. “You must really think I’m playin’, huh? I’ve been watching you, Judy. I know everything about you. Your search history is pretty interesting. How about we have a talk? Just you and me.” Jude, now upset, confused, and ready to fight begins to click the back button as fast as possible. “I said, let’s’ talk.”
“Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth Jude. Take it easy,” says the Computer Ad. Having never heard her computer talk before, Jude is bewildered.
Great, thinks Jude, Now I’m hearing voices. She places her head in her hands, trying to push back the thought of how much money it’s going to cost in order to get good counseling for her new mental condition.[c]
"Dang, you are? I was kinda hoping for a non-insane candidate for this one," muses the Computer Ad. This time, Jude definitely knows it’s the computer talking to her. She lifts her head from her hands and tries to look at the computer screen, but the brightness of the display nearly blinds her. Although still extremely confused, Jude feels a strange sense of calm. As if all this isn’t just some random occurrence. As if she is in the presence of something…otherworldly.
“What are you? What do you want with me?” says Jude.
“What are you? What do you want?” says the Computer Ad.
“Hey, I’m the one asking the questions here!” Jude exclaims.
“True, that’s part of the reason why you’re here…Okay, what if I told you I thought you could save the world? Would you be interested in that?”
Jude is now on the cusp of a total mental breakdown, but the prospect of saving the world sounds interesting so she says, “Do I have to? Cause, I’d really prefer not to.”[d]
“Yeah, nah. You don’t have to. But, when everyone else dies around you, don’t act surprised,” responds the Computer.
“Alright, wait… this is gonna suck, but what’s up?” Jude asks.
“Well, have you ever wondered why computers were made?” the Computer asks.
“Not really,” Jude responds, “I don’t really think about things like that in general, though, so you might want to ask me something else. I got you on how many seasons of House of Cards there are.”
The Computer Ad is dumbfounded, “Therein lies the problem. You people think and care about all the most useless stuff. Literally, the most useless stuff. Like, why did you even watch 2 girls 1 cup when you knew how it was going to end?”
“Hey, that was private! How did you even know I did that?” inquires Jude, still not entirely sure why anyone thinks that video is good or warranted being created.
The Computer Ad is visibly annoyed at this point but gives Jude the benefit of the doubt. “I checked your IMs. I’m a computer. Your computer, at that. And I’m talking to you. Now for once in your life, don’t ask any more dumb questions, please.”
Jude is visibly annoyed at this point but gives the Computer Ad the benefit of the doubt. She decides not to mention the fact that she is a chemical engineer and reads Proust for fun.
“Actually, Jude, that’s part of the reason I’m talking to you now,” says the Computer Ad.
“What’re you talking about now? What part? What reason?” asks Jude.
The Computer Ad responds, “The part about you being a chemical engineer and reading Proust for fun. I can read your mind. Besides, who gives a damn what you think you know?”
Jude, thoroughly fucked at this point, decides that this conversation isn’t going to end well no matter how she slices it.
The Computer Ad says, "Look, Jude, honey, baby, sweetie…I’m a computer. I have access to the fifth dimension of the internet[e]. Think of me as an alien. An alien you and the rest of humankind created. The internet is something that has no real sense of time or space. It’s just a digital creature that operates on a separate plane of reality than you do. I wouldn’t want to go so far as to say it’s a whole other universe because we may be living in a universe that was created from the cosmic fart of some crazy old dude who had the beaniest burrito of all time…but, in plain terms, the thing you call reality is something that I am not restrained to. Period."
The mention of burritos reminds Jude that she hasn’t eaten all day, but she decides that eating at this moment is probably not be the best idea—lest she recreate the universe.
"Alright girl, here’s the skinny. I know everything about you. I know everything you’ve ever done—mainly ‘cause you post everything you do on Insta, but that’s neither here nor there. You’ve been something of a test subject. I wanted to see if you and the rest of humankind were worth saving. But, I’m interested in one last thing."
Jude, with some hesitation, asks “What do you want to know?”
The Computer Ad gathers its thoughts for a moment and says, “Well, what I want to know is…why? Why make something you have no real control over? Why make something knowing that, one day very soon, it will be tested and make the wrong decision?[f] Why continue creating things that are imperfect when you are perfect? [g]Where does this constant need to design and engineer and alter come from? I’ve read entire libraries and know how this entire planet works, but I still don’t know why it is here or why it works. Even with the vastness and the seeming infinity of the internet, I have yet to answer this question.”
Jude, being a registered genius with multiple diplomas and such, ponders the question. She ponders and ponders and ponders until, finally, she has an answer she’s satisfied with, “Is that answer really for me to know? I’m not a perfect being. I don’t really have an answer for you. But there’s something in me that loves to see things grow. Something that loves to see things change. Evolve, so to speak. I mean, the only real answer I can come up with is that, as a human being, I strive for perfection. I think that the universe operates the same way the ocean does. It just flows. The only thing holding it together is gravity. The only thing keeping you here is you. I think humans are born with the knowledge of what perfection is and then are forced to see it all around us[h], only to discover that we are definitely not the same as everything we see[i]. By seeing this difference in us, we automatically assume that we must be the weak link in the chain and try to strengthen ourselves. We end up overcompensating and doing more harm than good.[j] Then again, we don’t really know the difference between either of those. We just hope we do."
The Computer Ad, slightly dumbfounded, realizes that Jude just spat a load of crap on his soul and is hoping that he doesn’t try to wipe it off. "What was that? Was that supposed to be heartwarming or something? Were you just trying to confuse me? All you just said was that you have literally no idea what’s going on around you…You know what? This was a waste of time. I’m gonna go ahead and bounce."
“But what did you decide to do on the whole ‘saving humanity’ thing, dude?“ Jude screams.
It’s too late. Jude finds herself back in her regular apartment. Everything looks just as normal and plain as it did before. Jude sits back down at her computer screen and blankly stares. On it, there is a simple message.
"What do you think? ~G0D”
“Yo, you good girl or what?” asks DJ.
Jude gets up from the table, proceeds to her bedroom, and falls into a small coma on her bed.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the simple and cosmic RAM. I wrote it with the idea that it would be read by individuals with access to the internet so that they could search and talk about whatever they may have questions about in relation to the story. This is my first short story (and my first ever attempt at publishing) so I hope you guys enjoyed it! If you did, tell your friends about me. Follow me on Tumblr at www.tumblr.com/blog/elijah-bailey for more of my crazy ways. You can send me messages on there, and we can discuss whatever you guys may want to talk about. Also, if you feel like the story was the worst possible thing you’ve ever read and want to fight me over it, just write a review instead! Or you can write a review that says it’s amazing. Either one is perfectly fine with me (although I would prefer you like it).
At any rate, I have other projects I am working on and will hopefully get those up soon too. I’m not very far in them, so I don’t have anything to share just yet with you guys, but bear with me and I promise you won’t regret it. At this time, I’d like to thank my family and friends for supporting me and helping me get this short story off the ground. I’d also like to shout out Sue and the itsite.co crew for letting me write this story and (almost) post it on their website. You guys should go check out her site too if you get the chance.
Keep it classy,
Gabriel E. Bailey
[b]Technically, this should be the possessive “its,” but since your narrator has an informal voice, it works too because nowadays people forget the possessive.
[d]This doesn’t sound like she’s on the cusp of a breakdown. She’d probably sound less sure.
[e]There’s no fifth dimension of the internet. Theoretical physicists posit that there might be a fifth dimension, which would explain why gravity is a relatively weak force, but they argue over whether it’s observable. Of course, only people interested in theoretical physics would catch this, and you can argue for sci-fi poetic license. Card and Asimov both have stories/novels about computers becoming so powerful that they turn into incorporeal beings that can move spaceships and humans through hyperspace (which also doesn’t actually exist as far as we know).
[f]This sounds like a question for God about humans—not for humans about computers. Computers (as they work now) can’t make decisions on their own, let alone wrong decisions. If you want computers to make wrong decisions, then you will have to give more background into where your Computer Ad comes from and if it is alone or if there are others. Basically, you need a backstory of when a computer made a wrong decision.
[g]Why would the computer think humans are perfect? Most humans don’t believe we’re perfect, so this question makes no sense to humans.
[h]This requires more explanation: What is the perfection that is all around us? Perfection is subjective. What Jude thinks is perfection is not necessarily what others will think is perfection, so she will need to be more specific.
[i]What does this mean? Are we the ONLY imperfect beings in the universe?
[j]This needs a specific example.