A peal of lightning broke just outside the study window, illuminating for an instant my own reflection in the old CRT Monitor. The face cast on the convex glass was grim, and blurred both by a thin layer of dust and my own inebriation. When darkness again cloaked the room, and the afterimage had faded from my eyes, I took one final swig from my glass; the last of a bottle of Maker’s Mark, nursed steadily through the evening over ice.
The chair squealed in protest (or was it sinister glee?) as I settled into it, and shook the dust from the dull beige keyboard and mouse lying on the desk. For an instant I marveled that this archaic machine had once been cutting-edge. It was so old now that there was even a clunky charm about it — it would’ve been retro-modern had it not been a genuine article.
And a genuine article it was. It needed to be, if it was to fulfill its purpose. Machines nowadays could not harbor the forgotten machinations I required — it wasn’t just taboo, it impossible, and with good reason. The world had moved on, and yet I lingered. I told myself it was more familiar, that the new interfaces were only intelligible to a younger crowd. I was lying.
I liked seeing the virtual world, so carefully designed and constructed, through a broken lens; beholding only chaos on the screens of order that everyone else saw.
I pressed the power button, and waited for the electric sheen to flicker onto the monitor. My mind drifted as I waited for the old beast to stir itself from slumber. When I awoke from the daze, I found object of my heretical worship waiting for me. Staring hungrily from the backlit screen, in the middle of the desktop.
A single icon, in the likeness of a lower-case e, an orbital belt set askew across it. Two hated words, and an unthinkable number lay below:
“Internet Explorer 6”
The mouse darted atop the cyan rune. I double-clicked.