©Ernest Hogan 2014
"They're watching me," I said, "Here. At Big Ugly Peach Apartments West. Of course, it makes sense."
I almost didn't hear my messages playing:
"Flash, this is Obeah X15, something went wrong with the Huevos Rancheros Microondas. I think something is happening. Something mondo hardcore weird, weirder than the reptile conspiracy. I'm going to scan for televoodoo on the internet. Catch me one via one mode or other. Bye."
"Burnout here. Flash, there's some stuff going on that you have to watch out for. We may be on the brink of some kind of crackdown or breakout or something. The Nigerians are in on it, so let me know if you have any dealings with them. Don't touch any computer if animated cockroaches appear on the screen -- it's a new virus. And have you noticed how saguaros seem to be walking all over town? I'm going out, but I'm not taking my pager for security reasons. Don't try to call me -- I'll reach you."
"Hey, you the kid who delivers stuff on his bike? I know a lotta people what needs things delivered without a lot of silly questions. I could get you a lot of jobs, if you just gimme sixty percent. I don't wanna leave my name or number, but I'll call back."
"There's no answer, I mean, it's a machine. Maybe they got him. Oh well."
When the machine clicked off, I felt cheated. The chip didn't like being cut off from an information stream. It gave me an instant headache.
"I need more," I said.
"What?" asked Vampiko, who was retouching her makeup for work. "More messages?"
"Information. I need more. Gotta have it."
"Why don't you watch TV or something?" she said, blending some shadow into her cleavage.
I leaped across the room, grabbed the remote, and had the tube glowing faster than I ever had before. I didn't look for anything to watch, just held down the upchannel button and watched the entire cable system flash by in fast blips. And I could follow it all. Megabytes of information flowing through my eyes, ears, and brain into the Krell chip.
It was happy. It jolted my brain into an endorphin dump. Then I was happy too.
I wanted to sit down, but couldn't. My finger hurt from holding down the button. I was a prisoner of information.
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