Blue Screen of Death

The Windows Maven

by Sloth
Sunset was casting deep shadows on the suburban town. Carl crept quietly around the side and to the back of the girl's house. What was the boy up to? Only he knew. After pausing to punch a few final keys on his wireless PDA, he smiled and placed the device into a large pocket of his baggy cargo jeans. Then he took his place by her bedroom window. It was Showtime.

The girl was inside her room, trying to finish her school paper. Just as she had started on the final paragraph, it happened. The screen turned a sinister blue and spit out an indecipherable error message. She had been working on The Fall of The Roman Empire after school for three days. She was almost finished with it, but now it was gone.

The girl stood up, screamed, and sat back down again. She wanted to scream again, but instead she bit her plump lower lip until she could almost taste blood. That helped a little, but now her lip hurt and she felt even more helpless and vulnerable.

Internally, she was still cursing the obvious man responsible...Bill Gates and his dreaded Windows 98. This would have never happened, the girl mused, if Dad had bought me the cute pink Macintosh I wanted.

Indeed her father was being cheap. He had given his only daughter his old computer. Of course he got himself a new Dell. With the History paper due on Monday and her computer in this crippled state, there would be no chance of going to the Hives concert tonight. No chance to release the energy and frustration pent up inside her voluptuous teenage body.

The girl tapped fruitlessly on the keys. The Word document reappeared momentarily, as if teasing her, before it disappeared again into the void. Next the keyboard stopped responding. The situation passed quickly into despair. The Blue Screen had won, and it stared back at her as if gloating victoriously.

What am I supposed to do now? The girl thought. The only answer she could come up with was to pull the power plug. Of course her paper might be lost forever.

Just before she plucked the three-pronged cord from the power outlet, she heard a rapping noise, like a knuckle on glass. She quickly turned her head. A teenaged boy was in the window. He was looking at her and smiling.

"Can I help you? " she asked sarcastically.

"Hi. I'm the new neighbor," the boy answered smiling.

"So what?" the girl responded tersely. She had just taken a shower and was wrapped in her blue terrycloth bathrobe. This was no time for introductions.

The boy continued undeterred. "Well, I heard your distress call and then saw you were having trouble with your computer. I naturally thought I might help. "

The little creep is spying on me, thought the girl. But I guess that's what boys do. And I do need some help.

Cautiously, she locked her bedroom door so her parents could not barge in and see the two of them together. Then she opened the window. The boy crawled feet first inside her room.

"Hi, I'm Carl," the boy introduced himself smiling.

"I'm Rebecca, " the girl responded, hopeful he could really fix her computer and save her weekend.

Carl pointed to the rock poster on the wall. "Hey, are you going to the Hives show tonight?"

Rebecca observed Carl's features. He was thin with a smooth and innocent face. His hair was short and curly. He was perhaps a little nerdier than the boys who normally piqued her interest, but his eyes were dark and shiny like opals. Even with the prototypical zit on his forehead, he was still kind of adorable.

"Yes I was planning on going," Rebecca responded, "but now my computer ate my paper."

Carl approached the keyboard, pausing momentarily to appreciate Rebecca's soapy fresh shower smell. He sat down and punched a few key combinations on the keyboard. Sure enough, the Word document reappeared.

"How did you do that?" Rebecca questioned.

"I got more tricks where that came from, " Carl replied. He then saved the document and rebooted the computer.

This boy is truly wonderful, thought Rebecca. He has saved my weekend.

As the computer restarted, Carl pointedly perused the boot-up screen and sighed.

"Rebecca, did you know your computer is infested with worms."

"Worms? Gross! My dad gave me a wormy computer."

"Yeah he did," Carl elaborated, "they wiggle their way in through the Internet and into your applications and documents. Then hackers can seize control of your computer and make it do whatever they want."

"Can you get rid of them?" Rebecca pleaded.

"Sure. The easiest way is to reinstall the OS and put up a firewall. That's all it takes. It keeps the worms out for good. Plus it's free if you know how. It just takes time. "

"Wow. Can we get it done before the concert?"

Carl thought a moment and replied, "No, probably not."

Rebecca responded, "Well then we should come back here and do it after the show. My paper is due on Monday and my parents can't hear anything in here from their bedroom. "

Carl smiled slyly, for this was another perfectly executed operation by the Windows Maven.
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