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Do Computers Bleed? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     It’s late and your end-of-the-year research paper is due tomorrow, and you have spent the past two hours completing your masterpiece. You are one, just one, paragraph away from finishing when it happens - a-pop-up window. The surprise of its appearance causes you to lose your train of thought and a good idea. Annoyed, you click a button, and another window opens. That’s how it always begins - with pop-up windows.

Exasperated, you read what it says. “Illegal operation.” What illegal operation? Frustrated, you click another button. “Program will be shut down.” What the? No! Stupid computer! “All unsaved work will be deleted.” What? Not good! Anger rushes in. “Systems shut down.” Evil computer!

The devastation of losing your report, combined with the frustration of realizing your computer is not going to cooperate, boils to create hot anger that floods your mind; you rise to a killing edge. The computer should pay for its refusal to behave, its resistance to cooperation. You see only in one color - blood red - and you wonder vaguely if computers can bleed.

You envision yourself with a rifle, a bazooka, a tank! The bullet meets its target. Sparks fly. A small fire starts in the broken glass of the shattered screen. That’s not enough, though; you want the computer to feel your pain. Anger gives you the strength of many and the computer is hurled out the window to the concrete below. The sound of it shattering only inspires you to paint a more perfect picture.

You wonder how you got outside, where the chain saw came from and, again, if computers can bleed. The roar of the chain saw is nothing compared to the agony you hope the computer must be feeling. You hear yourself muttering over the cries of the whirling blade and tearing plastic, “This is what you get, this is for what you did, and this, and this, and this!” You find yourself yelling every profanity that’s ever crossed your ears, some even in foreign tongues, so many of them that the cursing strings together to form a language all its own. “And this!” you cry in near triumph as you hurl the chain saw at the mangled plastic. You see red on the plastic, but can’t tell if it’s your vision, or if the computer is really bleeding.

The computer, beaten, bruised, broken, begs for forgiveness, begs for a second chance, but it’s too late, you tell him sneeringly. He wails, he pleads, he confesses as you douse him in gasoline. You gleefully dance around his funeral pyre.

Before lighting the match you offer him your last regards. “Have fun in Hades,” you sneer, sparking an inferno, sending him to the innermost round of the ninth circle of hell, Judecca, the final resting place for those who are treacherous against their masters.

The merry flames leap and dance, but their heat is cool compared to the heat of anger inside you; their energy is weak compared to the passion you feel as you dance around the demon’s final resting place.

The dance continues, around and around the fire. The heat increases, but not the angry heat inside you. You soak in calming satisfaction; your temper cools as the heat of the fire burns more and more of the enemy. The fire feels warmer as you cool down; the blood-red vision becomes hazy, the fire dims, and the anger ebbs.

As you calm, the sharp vision of anger blurs until you can’t see clearly anymore. The heat of the fire is doused until it is only a bit of warmth on your hands. The pit disappears. The mangled, bloody computer vanishes, and your desk reappears. The energy burns out, replaced by a smothering weariness.

You hear your computer beep, and the distant snoring of someone happily asleep. Your head snaps up and you sigh. Where did you drift off to? You can’t remember. You take a sip of coffee, shuffle through your notes and restart your computer. As you settle in to retype your lost work, you notice a dark line on the tower. You lean over to inspect it and realize that it’s a gash in the plastic ....

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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