Write about now

February 21, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Write What You Know

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: , — Eva Therese @ 6:47 pm

Challenge by Chuck Wendig and can be found here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/02/15/flash-fiction-challenge-write-what-you-know/
My ‘genre’ is dystopic alternate reality.

All names, places and identifying details have of course been changed. That said, the conversation I had with the guy went down exactly like that. It’s always confused the hell out of me, that the paranoid types can’t figure out that talking about being watched and refusing to book a computer and other stunts like that, only makes them seem much more suspicious.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

”The clingy guy has a problem with the printer,” said Erin. “He says every time he tries to print, it blots out words.” She waved a piece of paper in front of Sophie, who looked at it. It was a printout of an email and the first sentence looked as if it should read ‘I have tried to’ except that there was a grey smear across the word ‘tried’. “You’re good with computers,” Erin continued, making puppy dog eyes.

Sophie sighed. “I’ll take a look.” As she walked though the library, she thought that she was sure, the guy was doing it himself, as a new way of getting attention. His last trick had been complaining that there was no sound on the computer, when he had in fact not plugged in his headphones, but they had caught on fast and stopped coming over to help him.

She found him, sitting at the computer and after a curt nod to him, she bent down – careful about not getting too close to him – to look at the email he had open. She saw nothing out of the ordinary on the screen.

“Try printing,” she said, watching him to make sure he didn’t do anything funny. When the printout came out of the computer, there was nothing. Sophie handed him the paper, suppressing her annoyance and was going to turn and leave, when the guy started talking.

He had a heavy accent and was talking fast, so she could hardly understand him, but she did catch the word ‘computer department’. She waited for him to finish, so she could explain to him, that she couldn’t report the error to the department, when she hadn’t been able to reproduce it. But then she caught some more words and it dawned on her that he was actually asking whether the computer department was censoring his email.

“Uh,” said Sophie, momentarily stunned into speechlessness.

The guy slowed down and she could understand him better. “Is your computer department reading my email?” he asked.

“Of course not,” said Sophie, who had bounced back quickly. After all, patrons with extreme paranoia were nothing new in the library. “Why would they edit out the word ‘tried’ in your mail? It makes no sense.” Of course, appealing to the common sense of someone with paranoia was a futile effort.

“They did in Boston,” he continued as if he hadn’t heard her, which he may very well not have.

“Okay…” replied Sophie, and looked discreetly around for a colleague, who could come and save her, but there was no-one.

“And in Seattle. There, it was a director for the CIA. I asked him who he was and he said he was a director for the CIA.”

Nothing to do, except force an exit. “Now look. Our computer department is not reading or censoring your mail. Good day, sir.” She turned and walked away, now seriously annoyed.

She walked into the office, grabbed her phone from her bag and walked out to the bathrooms. After checking that all the stalls were empty, she went into the last one and locked the door behind her. She turned off her phone and removed the cover. Hidden underneath the battery was an extra simcard. She took out the simcard in the phone and replaced it with this one, before turning it on. Then she called the number saved on the card. The other end picked up after only one ring.

“Yes?”

“I think I have something. Some guy, wildly paranoid, convinced someone was messing with his mails.”

“Okay.” The man in the other end talked slowly as someone who was taking notes at the same time. “Do you think he could be a revolutionary?”

Sophie scoffed. “Don’t be silly. If he was, he wouldn’t be using our computers. He would most certainly not be talking openly about being under surveillance. At most he is a dissenter. But he might still have picked up something interesting. He certainly thought he knew something important.”

There was silence on the other end off the line, before the voice said. “Isn’t that a bit thin?”

“Maybe. But the last paranoid I reported panned out, didn’t he?”

Another silence. “He turned out to be a paedophile. It’s true that the police were very interested in what we dug up, but you have to admit that it was hardly in our interest.”

Now it was Sophie’s turn to be silent for a moment. When she spoke again, he voice was icy. “I can’t believe you just said that.”

“All right, I’m sorry. Bad joke. Very bad joke.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes. Look, give me his data and I’ll look into it. Today. I’ll look into it today.”

Sophie rattled off what she knew about the man, then ended the call. With a smile of grim satisfaction, she switched the simcards again and left the bathroom. She hoped they would find something on the man. If he disappeared completely, he would be done wasting her and her colleagues’ time.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] I like to recycle, Sophie is the same character as in my previous challenge. Oliver is most likely the man she reports […]

    Pingback by Flash Fiction Challenge: Game of Aspects, Redux | Write about now — February 25, 2013 @ 12:21 pm


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