The 27.9 Gig Life by Ray Ogar

>>> COPYRIGHT 2001

home from school,
and i sling my books and palm pilot
from my back to the tiny steel cart
near the front door entrance to our apartment.
the palm almost snuggled into its
cradle on the first toss.
i retrieve it and jiggle it into
its synchronization port--
it chirps as it updates my life and
today’s events into the home mainframe.
a few seconds.
i understand mom is going through
menopause but the house is much too
cold for that right now.
a few more seconds and the palm pilot
prolongs its synchronization.
i leave it for the moment heading
for the front bathroom.
getting colder.
and now i hear crying and what sounds like
metal clanging metal.
usually i just find mom in the front room
twiddling on the playstation or home-shopping
from the webtv.
not there.
i follow the house sounds.
i close in on the distress.
and i see mom shoveling ice from a several
plastic trash bags onto and around the
home computer.
i squint, adjust my jaw and next start to question...
but i see dad in the corner,
half buried by ice,
a small pistol in one hand and a box of bullets
in the other.
he’s very dead.
at first i try to believe mom is shoveling the ice to
slow dad’s temperature or she is trying to
perform some quick life saving method i
don’t think will work.
she’s not though.
the ice is layered very methodically around the
likewise the ice is placed very neatly in stacks and
clumps, as if mom were trying to erect some sort
of glacial computer housing.
i yell.
and i scream in my own fashion.
mom turns to me.
tears of course stream her face,
some though are broken,
slightly frozen and
one even bunches nicely near her
lower lip like a moment of frustration
preserved ever so sweetly to
guard over her angry snarls.
“your father decided he was green...”
i kind of stir at this rasp but don’t completely
i sort of mewl, “what exactly...,” and i try to
move over to dad but mom raises her
“get away from him. he’s destroyed my life!”
and i think, how could this be, they fell out
of love years ago, they were simply
life companions now,
mutually exclusive financial
entities combining their incomes to
fully succeed in today’s ultra informed
i keep an eye on dad.
“LOOK what he did!” mom points the shovel for
a second at the computer, that is she points
to what portions of the computer housing that
remain uncovered.
i see a few bullet holes and scorch marks.
mom cries even more.
at any moment i expect to hear cracking and
the sound of ice drop from her face.
no luck.
i step towards dad and
mom slams the shovel onto my back.
i hit the ground.
ice chunks cut into my skin,
some immediately liquidate
under my knees and hands.
mom cringes with the solid thud.
i’m conscious, “what are you doing?”
“if i cool the computer hard drive all the
data will be frozen long enough...”
i stay put, “you don’t really believe that...”
i almost continue but decide to leave it
to mom to figure the sanity of this situation.
mom keeps shoveling.
and dad continues to turn blue.
i can hear my palm pilot chirp two more
times as it tries to access the home computer
from the other room.
i wipe my face, “and by green you mean....”
“he resigned from living with technology. he gave
up making civilized decisions... he gave up
thinking about what was good for both of us...”
“no, i don’t believe that... i think maybe he
chose some sort of sanity over you’re own
simulation of life...,” and i slyly point to the
computer itself.
mom raises the shovel and slams it half
way down near me.
she doesn’t complete the move.
i cringe anyway.
she crumbles to the floor and almost
moves over to me.
and i almost hold my arms out but
push back on the cold floor.
i look to her then to the computer.
i try to see who she really is
and i only see the dull husk of the
home computer under so much ice...
and several of its own gunshot wounds.
mom turns away and begins to
move into the nest of ice
surrounding the computer.
i have always understood that
her and dad lived partially on the internet,
but they also stored everything on
their computer.
of course there are backup disks and
servers where portions of their lives are
temporarily stored across the globe.
but all i can think of now is when mom might
have last backed up the hard disk.
i turn back to mom.
she screams and claws at the
machine’s data housing.
spittle dribbles from her lip.
and i know that she hasn’t had the
sense of reason to backup the memory
in quite a while.
i simply make for the doorway,
quickly disengaging my palm pilot
and grabbing any personal items that
i can.
as i close the front door,
i try to figure out ways i can
disentangle myself from my
parents and the webbed life they lead.
i immediately compile a list nearly
50 points long describing internet plug-ins
and bookmarks i can delete that
connect me with my parents.
i realize i can try to dodge the search
engines for a little while.
then again some network connections
can never be severed.