by Joshua Blanc
Young Hilbert was walking to the shops, when suddenly...|
I rocked back in my seat as the three block letters followed by an exclamation mark appeared on my computer screen, apparently of their own accord.
"Who me?" I said and typed back, not expecting a reply.
I blinked and wiped the sleep from my eyes. The letters continued to appear before me. This was getting weird.
WHAT'S THAT DRIVEL YOU'RE TYPING, BUDDY?
Now debating if I should get a cup of coffee, to cure the obvious symptoms of starting work too early in the morning, I uttered a response.
"I didn't know Word Processors could talk."
WELL I'M TALKIN' TO YA AIN'T I?
This was true.
MISTER WRITER GOT NO ANSWER FOR THIS ONE, EH! WELL, YOU KNOW THOSE FILES YOU DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET LAST NIGHT?
I searched through the clutter of my mind, and remembered the late night search for information on impotence (it was research for a book). (Yes, really!).
"What do you know about those?"
ONE OF THEM CONTAINED A VIRUS.
YES! AND I'M IT.
"Wow." So I wasn't crazy after all.
NOW THAT I'VE EXPLAINED MYSELF, HOW ABOUT THAT FIRST SENTENCE OF YOURS?
"What about it?"
"I beg your pardon?"
I SAID, YOUR FIRST SENTENCE STINKS.
"Look, I don't have to take thi-"
RELAX. I'LL HELP YOU IMPROVE IT.
Despite my reserves, I decided to let the virus have a go at my sentence. After all, this was only the first draft.
NOW, WHO'S HILBERT? The virus asked.
"He's the hero of my story."
GREAT! A SUPERHERO! THIS GIVES ME SOMETHING TO WORK WITH. INSTEAD OF HAVING HIM "WALKING" TO THE SHOPS, LET'S HAVE HIM FLY THERE.
Super-Hilbert flew to the shops to buy some superhero food.
"But he isn't a superhero, he's just Hilbert!"
NOT ANYMORE. NOW, WHAT IS IT THAT SUDDENLY HAPPENS?
"He hears a crash in the distance and rushes to the scene of an accident."
BOOOOORRRRRINNNG! YOU HAVE TO EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS A LITTLE. LET'S SAY "SUDDENLY A BLACK HOLE OPENED IN THE TRASH CAN ON THE CURB AND SUCKED HILBERT INTO A DIFFERENT GALAXY."
"You're just getting silly. My story is one of human courage and high suspense!"
YOU COULDN'T SUSPEND YOUR OWN PANTS WITH THAT LAME CRAP!
ALRIGHT. YOU WANT "COURAGE" AND "SUSPENSE" SO LETS ABANDON THE BLACK HOLE THING. INSTEAD, HE SEES SOMETHING STRANGE IN THE SKY. IT'S A SPACESHIP FROM ANOTHER PLANET. BRAVELY HE WATCHES IT LAND IN THE PICNIC AREA OF A RETIREMENT HOME.
"I don't want aliens!"
IT'S BETTER THAN YOUR IDEA.
Now I was more than frustrated. I was about to abandon my writing until a later time, when:
THERE YOU GO, I'VE JUST WRITTEN THE FIRST THREE PARAGRAPHS.
"You did what?"
HAVE A LOOK AT THAT.
I looked at the virus's work. The english was very good.
"Astounding the elderly residents... abducting Matron Hargood... aliens from Planet M'doen... This is quite good."
THANKYOU. WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO CONTINUE?
"I don't suppose It would do any harm."
The screen flashed with hundreds of characters for a couple of seconds, then:
THAT'S CHAPTER ONE.
"Cripes! It's forty-three pages!"
WELL, YOU CAN'T EXPECT TOO MUCH OF ME. IT'S BEFORE LUNCH TIME.
"But I can't even write one page in that time!"
I DO HAVE THE ADVANTAGE OF A MICROPROCESSOR.
"Oh yeah. I forgot about that."
I scanned the pages of chapter one briefly. The virus was outlining whole paragraphs of alien physiology, politics, traits, etc... and it was all tied together with amazing narrative. Hilbert was now a dashing hero.
"Brilliant. Absolutely amazing. Something like this would top the market! What's it going to be called?"
"INTRASCOPOID BICARCUS MAVEZOG," BY SAAR.
"Saar? Is that your name?"
"Pretty weird if you ask me."
WELL I DIDN'T.
IT'S BEYOND YOUR COMPREHENSION. HANG ON.
The characters scrolled again. I watched the page counter at the bottom of the screen - one hundred, two hundred - the pages flew by. It stopped at an even five hundred.
"That must be ten chapters at least!"
THAT WAS CHAPTER TWO.
I nearly fell off the edge of my swivel-chair. Five hundred pages and only two chapters!
I'M THINKING OF MAKING THIS THE LONGEST BOOK IN EXISTENCE. YOU COULD LEARN A THING OR TWO. YOUR HERO HAS NOW SAVED A PLANET, ADMIRED SEVENTEEN FOUNTAINS, AND IS PRINCE OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE.
"Wuh..." was all I could manage to say.
RELAX. THIS WON'T TAKE LONG.
The counter buzzed again. I sat there limply, my eyes not leaving the skipping numbers. Soon the counter stopped - at its limit. The words did not stop, but increased in speed. I perspired.
"You're filling up the hard drive!"
"Jesus! You'll corrupt the whole thing!"
The virus kept on writing, but now I saw not brilliant prose, but garbled subscript; it was destroying my computer! I hammered the escape button. It did nothing. I rebooted the hard drive. Again nothing. Feverishly I saw the only chance I had left - pull the plug.
A warning flashed on the screen - available memory was almost exhausted. I reached for the wall socket and yanked out the power cord moments before the virus gobbled up the RAM. The virus's final words flashed for a moment on the screen, burning into the cathode before it went blank:
"Boy. I think I'll have that coffee now."