These Are The Stories Part IV
A Short Story by Doug Dean
Written using the suggestion "Ineffable"
Originally featured on 08-31-2009
As part of our series "Falling Into the Abyss of Wordiness"

 

The narrator frowned. He held the phone to his ear in one hand and a bill in the other. Then, without warning, he angrily pushed the button to hang up and threw the bill in the air.

The narrator grumbled to himself and began again.

 

***

 

The three deer rushed into the thicket almost at once.

They were out of breath and they were laughing. They had escaped.

“Did you see?” EightPoint said then looked at FourPoint and TwelvePoint with a huge grin. “Did you see, when they were all aiming out over the meadow, and I came up behind and jumped over that lame little bivouac of theirs?”

The others burst out in giggles.

“Aw man, the fat one with the sideburns must’ve shit himself!” said FourPoint.

“I couldn’t see their faces, ‘cause I had to book after that,” said EightPoint, still breathing hard. “But I heard ‘em freaking out. Which one screamed ‘holy fuck’?”

“The thin one with the glasses!” burst out TwelvePoint.

“I wish I could’ve seen his face,” said EightPoint.

FourPoint looked at EightPoint. “It was so awesome. The thin one dropped his rifle and tried to grab the fat one, and the fat one was pushing him off, still freaking out himself. And then the grizzled one with the beard just started pushing everyone, trying to get control of the situation. He pushed the nerdy one right over. And then his rifle went off!”

EightPoint started slapping his hoof in the dirt, bent over laughing.

“That was the shot they got off?” EightPoint said.

“Yeah, that was when [TwelvePoint] charged in and speared them,” said FourPoint.

They were all slapping the dirt with their hooves now. A cloud of dirt rose from the thicket along with the unmistakable sounds of deer mirth.

“Aw man, his antlers made moss out of the grizzled one’s face!” said FourPoint.

EightPoint looked at TwelvePoint. “Hey, you’ve still got blood on your antlers. And I think…” EightPoint raised his snout to sniff TwelvePoint’s antlers. “Yep, I think that this is brains on there too.”

“I know. Pretty sweet, huh? I’m psyched that mating season’s coming up. This is gonna score me major points,” said TwelvePoint giddily.

“I came in to trample them, but everybody was already mashed to pieces, you animal!” said FourPoint.

“Alright guys,” said EightPoint. “Time to hoof it outta here!” EightPoint leapt from the thicket.

FourPoint and TwelvePoint shook their heads at one another.

“Lame,” said FourPoint.

“So lame,” said TwelvePoint.

And then they bounded and pranced off behind him.

 

***

 

Jason crouched next to the bed to grab his tackle box. He knew Earl would be by any minute to pick him up for their monthly fishing trip. Jason grabbed the tackle box, and Earl’s underwear with it.

“Honey, I found Earl’s underwear under the bed!” said Jason to his half asleep wife, Marjorie.

“Well, I guess you know who I’ve been fucking,” mumbled Marjorie, still half asleep.

Jason jumped. Earl had quietly honked his horn.

 

***

 

Neodeutero packed the bong in Optimus’ condo living room. They sat on separate couches. On the wall, a Devo poster hung. It was the only decoration on the white walls. The baseboard heating hummed.

They had been at it all night: hacking and hacking and coding and hacking and periodically checking a Myspace account for a new message from a girl named Alicia$Love4Life.

None of this, had it become known, would have been embarrassed either of them in the slightest, except for the checking of the Myspace accounts. That sloppy, abominable wasteland of a website. The mis-strewn Javascript everywhere and mashed together incompatible languages. Tacky, flashing and insulting advertisements. The seams showing, with bits of code accidentally displayed as text. To Optimus, Neodeutero, and their brethren; these were amateurs posing as craftsmen, proudly holding up their métiers for all to see—with “Thomas’ Page Editor v7.1” proudly stamped on the side, revealing that these amateurs didn’t even create their pieces at all. They merely mashed them together from scraps they found at various waste dumps on the Net. Crude displays. Unworthy of the attention they so desperately sought.

It was Optimus’ page they had been checking. Neodeutero created a page for one day a couple of months ago that simply linked to his page stating ‘This is what a website looks like….’

“Dude,” Optimus exhaled. “I’m amazed that this girl even talked to me. You saw the pictures. She’s hot. And she digs me. We wrote each other like three times last week.”

Neodeutero repacked the bong.

“So how come she hasn’t written you back in like five days?” said Neodeutero.

“Dude,” Optimus said shaking his head. “Dude, dude, dude…really? You’re really that jealous? You have to tear it down? She’s obviously busy. Haven’t you seen her Comments section. She’s been everywhere in the past five days: the beach, the mall, the club, out with friends—you name it…”

“What?!” said Neodeutero. “Me…jealous? Of you?”

Optimus smiled at him. The sun was coming up. Neodeutero leaned in and took a bong hit. He exhaled to find Optimus grinning at him through a cloud of smoke.

“You know it’s just pretend, right?” said Neodeutero. “I mean, it might be a guy for all you know. Remember what happened back in that AOL chatroom?”

“Shut up! That was before I knew what I was doing.”

“No, Optimus. You’ve really pissed me off now. Saying that I’m jealous of you. I’m Neo-fucking-deutero! I’m the guy that cracked into the Microsoft server mainframe three times in one night. No way, Optimus. You’ve done it, now!”

Neodeutero got up from the couch and walked out of the living room and into the bedroom. Optimus watched as he sat down at his laptop, plugged in next to Optimus’ desktop.

“I’m sick of what this website has done to you! I’m sick of what it’s done to everyone!! We’ve been checking your stupid homepage for the ‘New Messages’ link like fucking hamsters hitting a feedbar hoping for a pellet drop,” yelled Neodeutero. “I’m putting an end to it!!!”

Optimus got up and ran down the hall. “Wait! What are you doing?! Stop! I’m sorry!”

Neodeutero shook his head. “No, this is for your own good. And everyone’s good.” Neodeutero grabbed his black patch-laden backpack and pulled out a CD-Rom labeled ‘An End to the Madness….’

“Wait! What are you going to do? Hack Myspace? Please…don’t…she might write me back after she comes home from TJ’s loft party,” said Optimus, standing in the doorway. “Sometimes when she’s been drinking she leaves me comments.”

Neodeutero glared at him “Oh, that is it! Are you fucking kidding me?” Then Neodeutero got up. “Look at yourself! You’re dressed up as if you’re going to a party, with that stupid silver chain and black tee-shirt…like she can tell!”

Optimus shrugged. “I thought maybe, ya know, she might…it’s never happened, but maybe she’d want to video chat or something, see my picture…”

“Video chat!?! Video chat!?! Video chat!?! Are you fucking…Video chat?!?” growled Neodeutero. Then stepped over to his laptop and inserted the CD-Rom into his laptop. He turned back to Optimus. “You…You…You’re…It’s not just you either. It’s everyone. You’ve all become obsessed with these alter-egos that you’ve taken on! These jet-setting party types you pretend to be! Well ‘Optimus,’ or should I call you by your stupid alter-ego name? Well ‘kickin’ it real-styley,’ we’ll just see how real you actually like to kick it! You and the rest of the pretenders!”

Neodeutero sat down in front of his laptop. He began typing wildly, windows opening and closing rapidly. Optimus stood and watched for a moment. He saw his Myspace page open for a second then close. He grabbed Neodeutero’s shoulder.

“What are you doing?!” said Optimus.

“Something I should’ve done a long time ago,” said Neodeutero. Then Neodeutero began to laugh. “It’s done.”

“What is?” said Optimus.

“It’s a virus, of course, but ‘epidemic disease’ would be more accurate. Just like the epidemic that it will protect us from: Myspace,” said Neodeutero. He cackled again looking at Optimus. “You poor fuckers!”

“What?”

“It works from inside Myspace, but that’s not where the real magic happens. Everytime you, or any of the other poor pretenders look at your homepage more than once a day, the virus hacks into your subconscious. It works on the Cortex, reprogramming it so that you believe that you are all the things you present on that cursed page. Your ‘About Me’ becomes who you are. Your ‘People I’d Like To Meet’…those are the people that you will meet, your brain will make it happen. Remember that poseur that said he’d like to meet a thousand people just like himself? The one whose band sucked? Now he’ll meet a thousand poseurs just like him every day. That’s the only type of person his brain will allow him to meet. Until he reaches a thousand poseurs a day, he won’t let himself meet anyone else!” Neodeutero cackled, banging his fist on the desk. “Remember how shitty his band was? That’s the only type of people he’ll meet, people whose bands suck as much as that!”

“But my ‘People I’d Like To Meet’ lists mostly dead people ‘and hot ladies’,” said Optimus.

“Yeah, we’ll find out how much you actually like spending time with these bubble-headed girls. You’ll meet lots of hot ladies…hot, superficial, bitchy, manipulative…that’s the only ladies you’ll meet. Enjoy!”

Optimus stood open-mouthed.

“Once a day, that’s it. Any more than once a day activates the virus in your Cortex,” said Neodeutero.

“You’re mad!”

“No. I’m Neodeutero. I’m the one that put an end to all this pretentious Myspace role-playing once and for all. Since, of course, the virus drives you mad eventually.”

“What?!”

“Yep. I abhor pretense,” declared Neodeutero.

Read More By Doug Dean

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Portland Fiction Project

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