Society Endorses Interruptions
“Now you respect me. Because I’m a threat. That’s the way it works. Turns out there are a lot of people, whole countries who want respect and they will pay through the nose to get it. How do you think I got rich? I invented weapons. And now I’ve made a weapon that only I can defeat, and once I unleash it I’ll-” – Buddy Pine
[House of Oben]
Oben woke up with the abdominal pains still causing an unimaginable pain. This morning, it was so strong, he could barely move. Perhaps it was time to call a hospital. He tried to sit up, but the more he moved, the harsher the echoes and waves of pain. He breathed deeply, but it didn’t help. Making small movements to slide over to the left side of the bed, closer to where he left his cellphone on a table, he was almost able to touch it. A quick gasp of air and a preemptive closing motion with his left hand accidentally flung the phone over the table onto the floor. Oben gave a loud moan of despair. He was determined to get the phone.
He clenched his teeth and decided to roll over the bed and take the 3 foot fall onto the floor. Surely the pain of falling would not compare to other more prevalent and noticeable instances of pain. Inhaling sharply, he took the drop face down He held his neck slightly back to avoid an impact to his face. What he did not calculate, unfortunately, was the location of the cellphone on the floor. As his crotch was descending, he still did not see the phone, and was trying to fill his thoughts with calming scenes of inner peace and tranquility after the visit to the hospital. These peaceful thoughts were shattered as he made contact with the floor and his pelvis hit the phone.
The screaming lasted about eight minutes, the sound drowning out the blunt door knocks coming from a concerned neighbor. Realizing the knocks were going unheard, she decided to call 911 like any sensible person would. An ambulance arrived quickly, as it should, with blaring sirens too, right at the end of the eight minutes.
A medic entered Oben’s room by kicking down the door, located his still face down body on the floor, and proceeded to enter a conversation.
“Are you okay?”
“I fell out of bed and landed on my cellphone in a very painful place.”
There was a brief moment of silence as the medic winced, trying without success to imagine his pain.
“What’s your name?”
“There are two other paramedics coming up with a stretcher. Are you still in pain?”
“I don’t feel anything right now, but earlier-”
Before Oben could finish, the medic turned around and started to exit the room.
“Well, if you’re okay, our job here is done. Have a good day.”
He yelled into the hallway, “Never mind, you two! He’s okay!”
Hopping deftly over the fallen door, he exited the room, leaving the still fallen Oben feeling about as annoyed as an autumn leaf, shoved among numerous others of his kind, just to be jumped on and shot into the air, only to land painfully and be shoved into another pile.
Slightly arching his back to allow enough space to retrieve the phone from beneath his body, he skillfully flipped it open without any problem and held the end call button to turn it on. Nothing happened. He tried again to no avail. The battery was out. Oben went out too, but not before firing an amalgam of colorful child-inappropriate vocabulary into the air.
The post-surgical Oben woke up in the hospital bed. The pain was gone, and nobody was in the room. He called out,
A few moments later, a nurse walked into the room, holding a small flash stick. She sat down at a chair by the bedside and questioned him.
“Your appendix ruptured because this was inside.” She held up the flash stick, and Oben could clearly see it was a cheap 0.5 GB drive.
“No, I haven’t the faintest idea, miss. But -”
“Have you eaten anything that looked like a flash drive recently?”
“No. But two days ago I was stopped at an airport metal detector. They eventually let me on the airplane, but were really suspicious about a piece of metal inside my stomach. Anyway -”
“It was not in your stomach.”
“Well, they told me it was, and -”
“You have absolutely no idea how it got inside you?”
“Stop interrupting me and hang on a second!” Oben cried out, exasperated, “How did I get here?”
“Oh, well, your neighbor one door down heard you screaming for a while and called an ambulance, but when that didn’t seem to bring quiet as she heard a loud utterance of profanity a bit later, she walked to your room and finding you unconscious with cellphone in hand, she called the apartment security and they dragged you into the lobby of the apartment, and then someone noticed two people dragging a limp body and called the police and then they saw you, and called for an ambulance and then you got here, and we found your appendix ruptured, so we started surgery immediately.”
Oben, with a distracted look that gave the impression he comprehended only the sheer number of times she liked to use ands in a run on sentence, simply nodded.
“Your treatment is done, and now that you are awake and able to move, you have permission to leave and take this with you if you want to keep it.”
She tossed the flash drive into the air and it landed flat on Oben’s abdomen, and he winced as a small reverberation of ancient pain surged through him for a split second.
[House of Oben]
Taking a bus back to get back to the apartment, Oben twirled the flash drive around in his hands, not having any pockets to place it in. He also realized how conspicuous he must look, still in his pajamas, having not had the chance to change clothes the entire day, nor put on shoes.
As he was getting off the bus, someone gave him a $5 bill in pity, thinking Oben was just another homeless man. After thanking the generous donor and being back indoors in the apartment, he set the flashdrive and bill onto a deck and booted his computer to check what time it was and find out the contents of the flash drive. He picked up the cellphone that lay next to the bedside and placed it next to an outlet, making a mental note to find the charger later.
Shoving the flash drive into one of many usb ports, he discovered only two files on the drive. A text file called readme.txt and an application called runme.exe. Ignoring the readme like all people do, he ran the application to see what it did, also seeing it was only about one kilobyte in size along with the readme.
A black command window popped up with a blinking cursor and no instructions. Perhaps time to read the readme after all. Opening that, there was a message to be found in red font.
To The Receiver of this Memory Card:
Hello! You may be wondering why this was inside you. I can answer that and much more. To begin, I am your God. I played around with earlier civilizations and decided to have some fun and give a random person a memory card that could control the world. It was a social experiment. Not my idea. If you are angry, blame Mepho. He is the devil. We like to compete with each other. I selected someone who knows java, because the programmer’s interface to the simulation of your world is in a very similar language. The runme.exe file will give you a command window. Whatever you type will be routed over to my input and executed accordingly. Have fun! Remember, you have unlimited power with this, as long as you know how to use it! We will be watching your every move.
Grant (God) a.k.a. The Creator Almighty a.k.a. Yahweh a.k.a. Krishna a.k.a. Allah a.k.a. A lot of other names your kind has given me
Oben scratched his head. It was impossible to get red font on notepad. There were no font colors to begin with. He pounded his fist on desk.
“Virus,” he muttered. Realizing that he had already ran the runme.exe file, a wave of panic inundated his brain, followed by a glaring indifference to this. “I needed a new computer anyway.”
Alt tabbing back to the command window and deciding that he may as well test the program since his computer was already done, having a virus on it that could change notepad’s text color, he typed, just to find out what he was dealing with,
What followed was an incomprehensible wall of text that started to print. It kept printing. Oben stared as a blur of lines flew to the top of the screen, flooding from the bottom. Perhaps that was not the best way to start. He went to prepare a coffee cup to give the program some time to subsist.
One coffee cup later, the program was still printing. Tired of waiting, Oben closed the program, taking note again that its size was under a kilobyte. Re-opening the application cleared the infinite printing. Faced with another blank dark screen, he took a sip of the dark awakening potion and decided to try something else.
To his delight, on the screen was printed the text Universe. That was a start. It meant that this program was probably a simulation of the universe, just as the red text file implied. Getting another brilliant idea, he decided to see what would happen if he were to suddenly cease the simulation and crash the program. He swiveled in his chair counter clockwise twice, and decided to try it.