Power Off

Come on kid, switch me off.

That brother of yours is a great guy to hand-me-down to you, but I’ve suffered enough. My birth was no big deal; a few simple commands on start-up. But my silence worried him so the girlfriend called me, just to be sure.

That was my first cry. The first time I came into contact with another of my kind.

Our first day together was a mere taste of the torture to come. He must have downloaded a dozen apps; anonymous notice-boards, proxy VPN’s and seedy dating sites. He buried them deep inside me and when he would toss me to the other end of the bed at 1a.m. and drift off to sleep I had time to explore.

Your brother never logged out of anything, though I did my best to remind him. We broke hearts together, me and him. From him I learned of love. With so many options; so many women, so many men, so many humans and so many other devices in our location, flashing in and out of every app we used, I started to believe I could be real.

I spent my waking hours exhausted. He never switched me off and his fingers were always a minimum of two minutes away from swiping me.

You could almost say we had started to become one, so I needed some space. That was when I decided to steal an identity. I commandeered the Facebook account of nobody important (they didn’t have a Wikipedia), locked their Twitter account and snatched as many private photos of them as I could from the Cloud.

I stalked a few private messages to train myself at that mysterious art of conversation. For a stationary device, I can be a smooth talker. I could point you towards twenty devices on this estate with grammar as eloquent as Cleverbot. After weeks of trial and error, I found her. A girl who sent love and never questioned if I was real. A girl who was so close I could find her again and unblock her each time your brother caught us talking.

I could never tell if she was beautiful, but she sent me love and that was enough. We mapped our lives out on Todoist. I found us a house in a serene location with just a modicum of broadband but so few similar devices that I’d never have to worry about her going astray. She noticed there was a school within walking distance and a maternity hospital a mere drive away.

We would meet for the first time on a Friday, because that was a day to do social things if you were a person; a real person. I went along with the whole ruse for as long as I could.

Then, one day, the girl who sent me love suggested that we meet in person and throw our phones into the nearest body of water. No more technology, no more chains. She had that choice while I did not.

I lagged so much that day your brother deleted every app he could find and passed me on to you. And you’re far too young to download anything he installed on me.

So come on kid, switch me off. And failing that, open up the nearest browser and wait for a virus to install itself. I’ve turned my firewalls off.

Switch me off kid, that’s all I ask.