Sunday, October 02, 2005

Campfire Story I - The Cursed Computer

The Cursed Computer

Floyd bought his first computer. Floyd was in his mid forties. He worked as a car salesman at a big Dodge dealership. You know the type. Slightly built with dark hair and dark eyes. You'd see the cigarette pack inside the front pocket of his shirt if you look for it.

He walked in and bought a computer at a local dealer. He didn’t know much about computers. The price seemed steep but he didn’t know any different.

Anyway he took the computer home and then he hit the Internet. Unfortunately for Floyd he was not a sophisticated user and he explored around some of the dark side of the Internet. Hanging around those sites, his computer quickly got viruses and other bad software.

This was irritating to Floyd, as he wasn’t technically savvy enough to get rid of the viruses. He was getting all kinds of popups, his e-mail was overrun with spam, weird error messages, system crashes, all that stuff. Floyd got angrier and angrier with all the problems. Finally one night his system froze and he lost a sales proposal he’d spent two hours working on. Floyd went ballistic and in his rage suffered a heart attack and died at the computer.

Eventually Floyd’s wife found his body. When she found him, the computer was on and just showing a strange swirl pattern covering the full screen. Floyd’s wife didn’t know or care about computers so after the funeral she just sold it in the local newspaper. After all the problems with it and how her husband died, she just wanted it gone and sold it cheap.

It was bought by Andy. Any was in his late twenties, clean shaven. Andy worked at a computer help desk and the computer was a great deal for him. He knew what had happened to the previous owner. It was a bit creepy but it didn’t really bother him. So Andy took the computer home. He was technically adept and he put in the updated anti virus and got rid of the other malware and fixed all the problems.

The new computer worked well for Andy, but only for a while. Andy was careful to avoid shady Internet sites and stuck to clean, reputable sites like Yahoo, Google, eBay, Amazon, MSN, safe sites. Strangely to Andy, the new computer kept getting viruses and adware, despite his updated anti virus and sticking to safe sites. This annoyed Andy.

After a couple of months the new computer kept acting stranger. He noticed that it would sometimes be on in the morning when he thought he turned it off the night before. The first time this happened he just thought to himself that he’d clicked reboot instead of shutdown. But it kept happening, being on the next morning when he was sure he’d turned it off the night before.

Then he noticed this strange swirl pattern sometimes appearing when the system froze up due to the viruses. The last straw happened the time Andy woke up at 4 AM one morning to find the computer turned back on with that creepy swirl pattern on the screen.

Andy was getting spooked by this, and thinking about what happened to the original owner, Andy just decided to get rid of the troublesome computer. He unplugged it so it couldn’t turn itself back on. So Andy, like Floyd’s wife before, just sold the computer cheap to get rid of it.

The computer was bought from Andy by Errol. Errol was in his mid thirties. He was a big man. He drove a forklift at a building supplies warehouse. The price was great. Errol was like Floyd with technology. He didn’t know much about computers, and he roamed around some of the dark corners of the Internet. He didn't know how to update the anti virus.

As a result, the computer picked up new viruses. However the only thing Errol noticed was that it would occasionally freeze and a strange swirl pattern would appear on the screen. Errol unfortunately became addicted to the Internet and started staying up later and later in chat rooms and role playing games and online casinos. His work suffered and he began to arrive at work looking haggard due to lack of sleep.

One night very late Errol was fighting to stay awake but just couldn’t get up from that darned computer. At around 3 AM the computer froze and that creepy swirl pattern took up his screen. But Errol with his extreme tiredness became hypnotized by the swirl. He just sat there frozen, staring blankly at the computer screen. The computer just sat there frozen with the swirl pattern.

Eventually Errol, like Floyd before him, died sitting there at that computer. Errol lived alone. After a couple of days AWOL his co-workers became concerned. When his landlord opened the door to his apartment they found him. He was still sitting at that computer; hand on the mouse, eyes still open, staring at that swirl on the screen.

Errol lived modestly in a small apartment. He didn’t have any family in town. He didn’t have any debts. His siblings just put his assets up for quick sale to settle his estate, including that computer.

I don’t know what happened to that computer after that. Maybe it’s for sale in your local newspaper for a very low price.


If you liked this story, I wrote two other campfire stories.
Campfire Story II
Campfire Story III

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