used to go to my public library all the time to use the computers. Mine
was frequently incompliant, stubborn,
and from time to time, it enjoyed major malfunctioning
. The fact that I actually had to leave my home just to check my email or do research never bothered me; the library was barely a block away.
So I guess you can see I was at the library a lot. Not every day, but at least once a week. I may not be great with computers, but I know how to use the Internet. I didn't have a website, or know a single thing about programming, but I am definitely not computer illiterate. You wouldn't believe this guy who sat next to me though. I didn't know his name or why he was even here, but his fingers flew over the keyboard like a blur. The screen was always full of symbols and numbers that instantly perplexed me every time I glanced over at his screen. I guess he was coding, I don't know, but he must have been there every day I was, constantly working on graphics, programs, formats, webpages... Clearly, I don't know what I'm talking about. This kid was in a league of his own, a real, live computer nerd.
About three months of using the same library computer went by without either of us engaging in what the social world refers to as 'conversation'. I had my own friends, and he... he might have had friends too. It was fine. Poor kid though, he wasn't doing a single thing to remove those obvious physical stereotypes of nerds. You can imagine what I mean: always hunched over the desk, grossly bespectacled, with a severely pockmarked face and an almost sickly thinness. Every few hours the Geek would snicker evilly at whatever he was creating in his technological microcosm. I began thinking it was a virus being born on that machine, but I was wrong. This thing was vastly more diabolic.
I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the Geek's devilish laugh, and the horrible confusion of those jumbled up languages. My own computer and I said our good-byes, and very soon, a new PC was sitting on a table in my room. No more library mouse with the buttons that didn't always click back up. No more carrying around disks whenever I want to work offline. Most refreshingly, no more Geek.
I didn't go the whole time without any interaction with him though. That fateful day, after my old computer left and before my new one arrived, I talked to him. I waited patiently until his furious fingers calmed down, and asked him simply, "What are you working on?"
I should never have done this, but I was so curious. I knew what happened to the cat. It was killed. But damn my curiosity, I had to know. It took the Geek a few seconds to realize someone was talking to him. He turned to me, and whispered fiercely, "Here, I'll show you!"
He leapt gracelessly from his chair, whipped a disk out of his computer, and crammed it into mine, before I could move.
Now he was in control. I didn't know what he was doing, but suddenly he began typing on my computer, bending it to his evil whim. In an instant, he had unleashed a hell unlike anything I had expected.
Out of the gaping maw of that disk and into my gentle library computer poured millions of files. Folders in folders in folders! Grandfolders, great-grandfolders, all containing their grim cargo: animated GIFs. Utter chaos erupted from the desktop. I had seen popups before, but GIF after GIF continued to appear, without any end in sight! Any cartoon object or item you can imagine, dancing, twisting, cascading into my nightmares. The Geek, these abhorred creatures' god, was hard-pressed to fit his wicked smile onto his thin face. Each appearance of a new GIF made the others move slower, until eventually, the screen filled up with absolutely motionless colors and shapes.
I sighed exhaustedly and attempted to clear the desktop, but to no avail. Nothing would work. I frantically tried restarting the computer. If those GIFs could talk, they would have said "Nice try." Worried, I grabbed my backpack and rushed out of the building, never to see the Geek or his GIFs again.
Two weeks later, I was headed for a convenience store, craving a chocolate bar or something, and was about to pass the library. It was about 10:30 PM, so you can understand my surprise when a man walked out the front door carrying something heavy. I assumed it was a stack of books and ignored him. When I got closer, I saw what it was: the monitor from the computer I used to use. The cord was trailing behind this man, but the screen was still on. Permanently burnt onto the screen was the GIFs: motionless, but there. The man dropped the monitor on the curb next to a garbage bag, got into a nearby car, and drove home. I gave the glowing box a kick in where its ass would be, thoroughly freaked out.