There came a startling knocking sound…
“That’s odd,” I grumbled to myself. “What the hell is that?” I looked around and it seemed to be coming from a mysterious object I had once named, at random, a “door.” Found upon the door was a piece of spherically-shaped metal which I brilliantly intuited could be used to pry the bloody thing open.
Gazing through the gaping portal I saw a most hideous thing standing on the go-away mat. “What the hell are you?” I gasped.
With an eerily familiar voice it replied, “I’m you from the future.”
My mind reeled. “How far in the future?”
“Tomorrow, to be exact.” God, it sure was ugly. It looked irritated and menacing, too. “Are you going to invite me in?”
Once inside it looked around the living room as if with the eyes of a child. “You’ll have to forgive me,” it said. “This sure brings back memories.”
By now I was feeling pretty damn irritated. My normal routine had been severely disrupted. “I’m feeling damn irritated,” I said. “You’re severely disrupting my normal routine.”
For a second it lost it’s composure. “Don’t you think I know that?!” it snapped ferociously. It took a deep breath and slowly exhaled then seemed to go limp in resignation. After an awkward silence, it finally continued. “I’m here to help you,” it said softly. “To help both of us.”
“Go on,” I barked.
“A few minutes from now,” it said ominously, “something is going to happen. Something completely out of the normal. Something disastrous. I’m here to stop it.”
Suddenly I noticed a gun in it’s hand. That’s odd, I thought lamely to myself. We don’t own a gun. What the hell had happened to me?
Bang. The gun went off. I fell to the floor while clutching my stomach in pain. He had shot our most prized possession. He had just shot our LCD 42″ flat screen TV.
“You son of a bitch! You die!” I screamed as I felt my life oozing away. “Why??”
“Poor little idiot,” he said, literally looking down on me. I couldn’t help but notice he was starting to twinkle, almost as if he was slowly dissolving away. He smiled.
He looked at his dissolving hand in wonderment. “It worked, it worked,” he said, forgetting the question that was currently pending on the floor. Then an expression of fear gripped his hideous face. “At least this time.”
His expression changed to one of resolve then went soft as if he had reached some sort of climactic decision. “What I’m about to say may end the space-time continuum as we know it, everywhere, everything, but fuck it. It might be our only chance.”
“Shut up!” he hissed. “We have very little time.” By now he was about fifty percent translucent, much like the time I had tried to Photoshop a profile image using a real picture of my own face.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said to himself, ignoring me completely. “I never watch broadcast TV. I never even turn it on. I hate the commercials. I avoid it like the plague. But I was supposed to be working. So, yeah, I guess that might be how it happened.”
He turned and looked me in the eye. “I turned on the TV,” he said. He was starting to scare me. “I did it on purpose. It was showing the CBS morning show. God help me, I don’t know why, but I watched.” I was stunned to see tears streaming down his face. “They called it ‘Note to Self.’ Oh God, why did I watch?”
He was almost gone now. He sparkled like a glinty trick of light and I had to lean and strain to hear what he had to say.
“Don’t do what I did. Don’t ever, EVER,” he hissed, “make the mistake of watching Note to Self. It’ll be the death of you.”
And with that, he was gone.
Dazed, I slowly got to my feet and swayed. Wow. What a trip. And what an idiot. How the hell was I going to watch anything with a bullet in my TV? And how the hell was I supposed to avoid doing real actual work?
More importantly, who was going to clean up that mess of ectoplasm where the bastard had been standing?
My wife and I have perfected the art of screaming at the TV while Google runs a new series of ads promoting something called Google Play. The ads seem tailor made for millennials, those wacky creatures with birthdays in early 1980s to the early 2000s.
Google loves millennials. Also grandmothers using AOL on Windows 95 who only know how to open emailed photos of grandchildren and stalk the entire family on Facebook. But it’s mostly the millennials.
Millennials are the people in your neighborhood who get run over by cars while texting, fall down open manholes when walking down a sidewalk while texting, running over other people while driving and texting, listening to lectures in college and texting, working mundane jobs and texting, and, if the rumors are true, even use their internet-powered smartphones while sitting on the toilet.
Whatever Google poops out millennials soak up like a sponge. How about Google in your wristwatch like George Jetson? Yes, please! How about Google in a computer you strap to your face? I’ll look so cool! How about Google you wear in a ring on your finger? Yes, I do.
These are people living enhanced reality sorts of lives. Why just look at a boring street when you can wear goggles that superimpose text (in the font of your choice) and describe what’s in view so you won’t have to hurt your brain? And it’s free, not counting the 20% of display real estate devoted to blinking advertisements.
Speaking of which, the ad campaign for Google Play is promoting the ability to watch Hollywood blockbuster movies like “Yankee! Look at me! I am the Captain now!”
Of course, with Google involved, it doesn’t quite stop there. In Google’s opinion, while watching the movie, you should be multitasking. Perhaps using some Google Docs to manage your money. Manage tomorrow’s expenditures and consumption. Let’s devote about 20% of the display to that.
Google is known for search (an admittedly archaic service they continue to offer for nostalgic reasons) so of course they recommend that while enjoying movies. In the commercial the clever viewer realizes, “Holy shit! That’s Tom Hanks. Click pause. Let’s google that sum bitch. I bet this isn’t his first movie. What else has this guy been in?”
With proper utilization of the myriad of services offered by Google, it’s possible to give less and less screen to the movie itself. If done properly, the movie can be shrunk to the size of a single twinkling pixel, much like a real star in Google NightSky.
Of course, at that size, the only part of the movie that can actually be enjoyed is the audio, and that is easily overwritten by Google Radio.
A good movie prompts a feeling of suspension of disbelief. It takes you out of the moment. Google doesn’t like people who are present in the moment. That’s why they launched Google Omnipresent Stimuli. Movies should never get your full attention. They should just be a tiny slice of the stimuli spectrum. With advertising, of course.
“Yankee! Look at Google! They are the Captain now.”
This story is the third installment for “Ghost of Christmas Present” in a five-part series of 200-word stories for BlogFestivus, A Christmas Carol. Check out the links (at the bottom of this post) to all the participating “ghost” writers for this year’s challenge. I suspect you’re in for some dark, yet jolly, days. -BD
Scrooge doubled-over and braced himself as the nausea that proceeded Christmas-based time travel gut-wrenched his innards. Here we go again, he thought in dismay.
He undissolved and rubbed his eyes with gnarled knuckles as eyesight slowly returned. He blinked and his watery eyes dried and the world became clear.
Immediately he recognized the R&D department of his very own company. At last, a chance to see what those slackers did behind his back. Always the opportunist Scrooge was already planning to take advtange of these teleportations.
The ghost was about to speak but Scrooge silenced him with a gesture of his hand. He didn’t want to miss anything.
At a computer that mealy bastard Cratchit was putting the finishing touches on a colorful graph. It would be the basis for denying all Christmas bonuses. With alarm, Scrooge saw the graph was trending up. No worries, he realized. For the memorandum he’d simply display it upside down.
Moving along, he came to a table where his nephew Fred worked feverishly at some bizarre electronics. For the first time, the ghost seemed troubled. “What is your man doing?” the ghost asked.
“Oh, you’ll see,” Scrooge replied. “You’ll see.”
Click on the links below for more takes on A Christmas Carol from our other BlogFestivus bloggers:
Linda penning at linda vernon humor
Steve from Stevil
Maria-Christina blogging at MCWhispers
Dylan of Treatment of Visions
Sarah from Parent Your Business
Dawn blogging at Lingering Visions
K8edid from k8edid
Dave bringing it at 1pointperspective
Eileen from Not The Sword But The Pen
Lindsey at RewindRevise
Kandy of Kandy Talk
Sandra writing at In Love With Words
Natalie from So I Went Undercover
Jen at Blog It or Lose It
Amelie from In the Barberry
Cee Cee blogging at Cee Cee’s Blog
Ashley from LittleWonder2
BD writing Blogdramedy
I’ve done something more notable than even Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals. (Yawn.)
I went out in the world and listened. To another person. Hells to the yeah.
It was the most startling experience.
A conversational pause does not mean the person has finished speaking.
–Tom B. Taker
Interpreting every single pause since the dawn of time as “my turn to talk” means you are an asshole.
–Tom B. Taker
My wife was speaking to me. I was listening. Wow. I know. It can happen. Okay, okay. Stay calm. Don’t blow it. Keep it together, man. So far so good.
Then she paused.
This was an industrial heavy-duty kind of a pause. A good ten seconds. In today’s world that is literally an eternity. I had my feelers out. Was she done? Was she waiting on me to comment? Was it my turn?
I still don’t know what came over me but I decided to wait. I was in it for the long haul.
Then, simply, she continued. And she expressed an additional thought that added more to what she had just previously said. A thought that, if I had interrupted, I would never have heard for the rest of my life.
This is it, I thought! The land of milk and honey over the rainbow. That land that assholes never get to see.
It was so earth shattering that a few days later I even tried it again.
Continue reading →
A few times a week I host an informal meeting. It’s a small, semi-private affair attended by me, myself and I. Just the three of us.
No, don’t call the nice men in nice white coats just yet. It’s not like that. At least I don’t think it is.
The attendees are not variations of the current me or echoes of my id. It’s not quite that simple.
In addition to myself, the meeting is most graciously attended by the me of before and the me of next.