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A grin on his lips

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“John, sweetie, I’m going up to the store. Do you need anything?”

“No, mom.”

“Does your friend want anything?”

“No, mom.”

John rolled his eyes and then the dice. Seven, two.

“That’s game.”

He looked up. “Guess so.”

“Is that all? I’ve gotta get home. Jess is expecting me.”

“No problem.” He wrote some notes on a piece of paper and then filed it into a thick binder which had been sitting, open, on the table. “See you Friday?”

“Sure.”

They walked to the door and exchanged a brief goodbye. John pushed his dice into a small velvet pouch, picked up his binder, and started downstairs. Flicking the light switch at the bottom of the dark stairs revealed a small room with a cement floor and sheetrock walls. In the corner was a bookshelf of binders and play manuals next to a couch that had been pulled out to make a bed.

John replaced the binder, set the velvet pouch on his nightstand, and picked up his computer. It hummed quietly as it reoriented itself and prompted for a username-password combination. The keyboard made quiet clicking noises as he responded with quick fingers. The clicking didn’t cease until the sky turned grey with light from the morning sun.

He awoke to the sound of the vacuum running overhead. As he slowly sat up, light from the window caught in his eyes and momentarily blinded him. He swore under his breath and brought an arm up to shield the light as he glanced over at the clock to catch the time. 3:37pm. Swearing again, he got up and made his way to the stairwell. He didn’t want to miss the news.

And then at 6:30: exactly what he had wanted to hear.

A drawling female voice came on over the speakers. “Microsoft reported today that they have been experiencing a ‘glitch’ in their systems. However, what started as what they perceived at an amateur’s attempt to infect the system has quickly grown much more serious. A source shares: “People haven’t been able to log in to the systems...they’ve been losing control of their own computers, anything that’s connected to the central mainframe. It’s all going nuts, spitting out some weird error message. But I digress. Our technicians are working on it, and it should be cleared up in a few hours.” I sure hope so. We’ll have more information on our eleven o’ clock news. Thank you, I’m . . .” The screen went black. A grin spilled across John’s lips.




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