Stuck in the Web

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Stuck in the Web


Tammy Reynolds


 


He’s waiting for his life to load.


It always takes too long; it seems to take longer and longer everyday. His dog, Buttersnatch, is pestering him again; he keeps jumping onto his lap with a filthy and worn-out tennis ball. The animal is managing to make these irritating noises with it: thud, thud, thud. He pushes him off his lap then the dog yelps and scampers out of the room.


It’s finally loaded and the creations are home from school to greet him.


 


Real life is work for him.


 


Input daily emotion: Happy


CONVERSATION INITIATION


Creation: How was your day, Papa?


Creator: It was boring as usual, and very stressful. Thank you for asking Fem-child 46382. How was school?


Creation: School was good, thank you. We made paper mash in art today. It was very messy.


Creator: No, you made Papier Maché in art today. There is no such thing as paper mash.


Creation: Ok father (Error received, Administration processing correction) thank you for showing me I am wrong.


Creator: You are not wrong Fem-child 46382. You are just ignorant.


Creation: Ignorant-lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned. New vocabulary stored. You learn something new every day Papa, don’t you?


Creator: You do child, but I know everything I need to know.


CONVERSATION TERMINATED


 


He hates logging off without saying goodbye to his children. He has to now; his wife has been calling him for hours. This happens often. He turns the volume down around him; it’s satisfying to have the power of simply muting people out. But his real life often interferes.


It is dinner time now; he must go down and talk to the family. He loathes dinner time; he has to eat the foul tasting thing that his wife calls a meal and tell her that it’s delicious. Their fat kids eat it too; they just gobble it up like they gobble up his lies.


As he drags himself to the dining room, and towards the chaotic atmosphere that the children have created, the aroma of his wife’s cooking surrounds him like an intrusive acquaintance. He slumps down at the table and watches in disgust as his wife lays the plates of home-baked cauliflower cheese in front of the children and him. The waft of the food is almost unbearable.


“Is this all we’re having? Cauliflower cheese is a side dish, is it not?” he says as he inspects his congealed, sallow, putrid smelling excuse for a meal.


“Yes it’s all we’re having. No, it’s not a side dish. It’s only a side dish if we have a smaller portion, darling. Salad can be a main meal or a side dish. I think about these things you know.” She replies.


“I know” He says. He wishes she wouldn’t.


The children start going on and on about their day at school. No one asks them how their day was they just start blathering on about it as if someone cares. He leaves before they finish, and feeds his leftovers to the dog. He hears the child ask where William has gone; the mother says that he has lots of work to do.


William is unemployed.


 


When he first joined YouTopia he visited the website once a week. Now, after 4 years his daily log in count is up to 50 times a day. On YouTopia, people respect him and love him whereas everyone in his real life is against him, he can tell. They act like they aren’t; they talk to him but out of pity, when they know he is busy with the people who really love him. But does he love them?


 


 


Input daily emotion: Angry


CONVERSATION INITIATION


Creation: What’s the problem? Have I done something?


Creator: You are incapable of doing anything wrong, that’s the problem.


Creation: I do not understand, are you angry at me? I am sorry, for anything that I have done.


Creator: You don’t know what you’ve done. How can you be sorry?


Creation: I’m sorry William. I did not mean any harm.


Creator: This isn’t life. This is a game; this is a moronic, childish game!


Creation has logged off


CONVERSATION TERMINATED


PROGRAM TERMINATED


 


How can she log off? She isn’t real; she is his creation, his invention. His. How can the program be terminated?


 


He arises from his worn down chair to go downstairs to his family. He hears his children, Henry and Erica, playing Happy Families. His wife, Gwen, cleaning the kitchen and singing All You Need is Love, he loves that song, and he loves her for singing it.


He may not need to know more, but he wants to.




Created: Jan 17, 2011

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