Feb 132009

This month’s topic for my writing group was “paranoia”. Again, not something I would have chosen on my own, though quite interesting. Again, I have the feeling that there should be some more of this story, only I don’t quite know where to take it next. On the subject of my last post about all my family having the flu: we’re feeling much, much better now. Not exactly healthy but not sick anymore either. We’ll spend tomorrow out of town, and I hope to be back next week with some real blog content for a change. Here’s the story:

It’s only paranoia if it isn’t real, isn’t it?

It’s only paranoia if it isn’t real, isn’t it?

So, what’s better then, being crazy, or it being real? Huh? What’s better? Is it paranoia? You know, when you know, well, you know that basically everyone is out for you? Or is that realism?

Is that guy over there really interested in that shop’s window, or is he only pretending to be interested so that I won’t see his face? And then, when I look away, will he be walking after me, will he follow me, and then there will be another one, and then another one, and then, that guy over there? Or that girl? Or that one? Haven’t I seen them all before? Or have I just seen them because they all live in this neighborhood, and it’s perfectly natural to see them, or do I only think they look familiar because these days all people look alike? Except for that guy over there, I haven’t seen him before, not anywhere, I’m sure. Maybe they brought him in so that I wouldn’t be suspicious. Someone new.

But then, these day and age, who’d spend that kind of money on people observing me? There are other means, other means, tools, they could have cameras. There can be cameras everywhere, tiny little cameras, no bigger than buttons, than coins, sewn into my clothes, looking from windows, looking out of shops, cameras inside shops, everyone knows there are cameras, surveillance cameras everywhere.

They wouldn’t even have to use their own cameras, or people, they could just hack into everbody’s computers and follow me through those. Everybody has a computer nowadays, mean little robot machines. With cameras. And microphones. They fool you, mean little robotic computers, alien intelligence, these days they don’t even look like computers anymore. There was a time, when every computer looked like a big fat electric typewriter; nowadays, these days, they have tiny little computers, looking like cigarette boxes, like miniature telephones, nasty people with their nasty little headphones, so tiny you can barely see them, plugged into their ears. Cameras inside telephones, computers everywhere. There are people carrying robots, robot computers all around me, plugging into each others machines, taking pictures with these tiny little cameras, recording everything with there tiny little microphones, and sending it off to each other, to some other robot, computer, sitting on the other side of the globe.

Every day now you’d meet someone, someone who’d seem mad because talking to himself, a sure sign of madness, that, talking to yourself, not good, you shouldn’t do that, only old fools, crazy people do that, you see; you see all these people, young people, fat, wealthy looking people, they all run around in the streets, talking to themselves, and then, and then it turns out, they aren’t talking to themselves, they are talking on the phone. Only, you can’t see the phone, it’s so tiny. They can plug it into their ears or something, a tiny telephone, sitting there in their ears. Next to the tiny camera, I bet. Cameras everywhere these days.

Numbers and barcodes and everything.

I bet they could track me by the chip in my library card. There are chips in everything, or so they say but I wonder, what are they doing with potatoes in all these computers?

Well, I figure the robots must have something to eat too? Don’t they? So maybe they put chips in everything, even the washing machines, the janitor told me so, there’s a chip in the washing machine, a computer even, which means, of course, that there is a robot living in the basement of my own house. He’s probably counting my socks, and reports how often I wash them. But I tricked him! Ha! I have been going to the laundromat. Ha! What do they think? Counting my underwear? No, sir, I won’t have that.

So, all these cameras, and robots, eating chips in everything. The phone, the washing machine, the shops, the bank, the library even. It’s a shame, I used to like the library. It’s warm and cozy there, with all the books, and not noisy, it’s quiet and cozy and calm, and there are no young people there, almost no people in fact, no noise, nothing of what they call music nowadays, and then I could take a nice bit of reading home to sit by the fire in the evenings.

Can’t do that anymore, of course, there’s a chip in my library card, and so they could track it, every bit of it, track me, better put the library card into the waste bin, right here, so, that’s better. Only there will be no more books for free, it’s a pity but there you are, can’t have this sort of thing, robots eating chips in my library card, nasty buggers.

Tracking somone must be an awful lot of work, like in the war, when you were undercover, and nobody was to find you out. But these days they had so many people, probably half the population working for them, otherwise they wouldn’t be bothering with somone like me, I’m not important, no sir, for all they know I’m not important, and they can’t know, I have never told nobody, no sir, never.

Must be going crazy, must I? Only, it’s only paranoia if it isn’t real. And it could be real, couldn’t it? Only I never told nobody, never. I didn’t tell.

  2 Responses to “Story of the month: It’s only paranoia if it isn’t real, isn’t it?”

  1. By the end of this, I have a picture in my mind of this person and ideas about where this could go…. excellent prompt.

  2. it’s making me itch, this post.

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