Some time later…
I am in a room, a one-bedroom studio. I am sitting in front of a large Zenith floor-unit tube television. This thing must be from the mid-20th Century. All of a sudden, and with a faint click and hum, the large screen lights up. Just in time for the 6 o’clock news.
“In local news tonight: the tiny Town of Westchestertonville has miraculously sprung up on the grid out of seemingly nothingness. For months now the town had gone dark, cut off from the vast majority of society. Federal authorities are still scrambling to muster an explanation of how they could have missed such a large oversight for this long. It also leaves some people wondering how many of these towns are still out there, excommunicated from the almighty Internet.
“In world news, the apparent seven-year itch as it were, that has plagued so many relationships due to a faulty Bookface matchup, seems to be receding a bit, as more and more daters revert to meeting people in person. We tried calling Bookface CEO and Founder Darryl Schmuckersburg for a possible explanation at this sudden departure from his long established norm, but he was unavailable for comment. In recent years, Schmuckersburg had come under fire for his supposed failed algorithm, but had somehow always kept the public at bay with reassurances that he was simply working out the bugs. I guess the people were finally fed up.” The newscaster’s look grows dark and seems to penetrate through the red-blue-green pixels of the tube and looks into my soul. Now, it’s as if he’s talking to me.
“Attention Mr. Schmuckersburg, if you’re viewing this and hearing my voice, then your mind has not doubt grown tired of the infinite loop, which has kept you in its clutches for…” he looks down at a digital display on his handheld tablet, “now a little more than two months. In this time, the Town of Westchestertonville, which you shrouded in darkness and cut off from the rest of the world for the benefit of your Bookface® social monopoly, has been freed. The author of your digital prison thought it fitting to give you this message when you awoke, to both ease you out of the coma and let you know of your wrongdoing. You tried to rob this quaint little society of its humanity for your own vain agenda. Conversations, Mr. Schmuckersburg, relationships, the foundations on which our collective human genome operate cannot be reduced to information commodities for you and others like you to deal as capital. We are people, Mr. Schmuckersburg. And we’ve taken our lives back. I hope that in this account you have been able to step into the shoes of some of these men and women, albeit an infinitessimally small fraction of one percent of those you’ve harmed; that you’ve seen the world through their eyes, and experience reality as they have; and maybe, just maybe, you can relate.”
“Can’t you see?!” I say. “I know what is right! Just give me some more time and I can work out the kinks. Humanity will be better with Bookface®. Believe me!” But the news anchor just looks down at the papers he’s shuffling on top of the desk and sighs.
“Very well,” he says, the well seems a whole octave lower in tone. Then a robotic voiceover plays as the newscast fades out.
… End transmission. Initiate infinite eight sequence 6281982. Congratulations, Mr. Schmuckersburg, you are being infiniteighted.
— OFF THE BOOK —