Among other problems, my computer speaks to me


No one ever said it was a good idea, the pounding on the keyboard continued regardless. Lex was watching in amazement as the man jabbed his finger at the screen, “you see what I’m saying?”

Lex began to shake his head no until he saw the look on my face.

“Uh absolutely, absolutely that’s definitely a problem.”

The man didn’t seem to hear anything we were saying to him, he continued to pound on his keyboard and point at the screen.

One day earlier

“My computer talks to me.”

“Your computer … talks to you?”

To be fair I was only half listening to him, I was watching in concern as Lex guzzled his third monster that morning.

“Can you give me further details of the problem?”

I heard the words he was saying but my fingers seemed to take on a mind of their own.

I wouldn’t notice this until 3 hours after the phone call, and by then my brain tissue was filled with other problems.

“These notes don’t seem right…”

“Eh?” Lex looked up from his screen.

I looked down at my notes again “It’s probably nothing, never mind.”

Notes read: Computer speaking to man, man seeking help.

Lex shrugged and looked back down at his screen, catching site of his face I slid my chair over to his desk. Dark rings surrounded his blood shot eyes.

“Rough night?”

“Trolley and I are going to win slots in the tournament this summer… it’s going to happen.” Trolley was Lex’s roommate and every spring, they would spend a solid month pulling all-nighters in hopes of winning a slot in the ever coveted, World of Warcraft Tournament. Anyone to dare question the logic of this was laughed out of the room.

We learned to simply buy him cases of Monster and listen in wide-eyed silence to his tirades.

Present day

There was a time when all of us took the client at their word…those days where long gone.

Sitting my laptop down on the counter, I looked over the top of my glasses at the man pacing to and fro in front of the receptionist desk.

His wrinkly shirt was half tucked in and sleep lines marked the side of his face. Eyes darting from side to side, he seemed unable to hold still.

Helen, our receptionist, had called up to our department for a manager to come down to speak to a client.

I lost the game of ‘nose goes’… so here I was.

Holding out my hand, I offered a friendly smile.

“Hi there! I’m Alice!”

He glared suspiciously at my outstretched hand.

“It’s not safe to talk here.”

Eyes wide, Helen mouthed “911?”

I shook my head at her, “Ok sir, right this way.”

He continued to mumble as I led him to our conference room.

“I have a lot of problems, some of them are real and some of them are in my head…”

“Pardon?” I asked as he set his computer on the conference table.

“Nothing! Never mind!” he shouted, in a quitter voice he added “Can’t be trusted yet.”

I began to regret not calling the police.

“You and I need to come to an understanding.” he said pulling the blinds shut.

Whipping around, he pointed a finger at me, “Sit down! I need to make sure you can be trusted.”

Edging away, I prayed I was close to the door.

Catching my arm in a vice grip, he repeated his command “Sit down!”

Gulping for air, I pulled away too hard and went sailing backwards into the conference room door. Feeling the knob turn beneath my fingers, I heard a familiar voice on the other side of the door, “Helen?!”

No…it couldn’t be… what was Luke doing out of his bat cave?

Barging into the room, veins bulging on the side of his face, Luke Oren in the flesh.

Other titles include: Operations manager, primary shareholders son… oh! And the man who had me confused with our sweet Helen. Sweet Helen, who was more than old enough to be my mother.

I saw Lex creeping in behind him, wide eyed, sweat showing on his forehead.

Slipping his arm through mine, Lex watched with me as Luke stepped over to the man who was now pointing and shouting at his computer screen.

“You see what I’m saying?” the man shouted.

Lex began to shake his head no until he saw the look on my face

“Uh absolutely, absolutely that’s definitely a problem”

The man didn’t seem to hear anything we were saying to him, he continued to pound on his keyboard and point at the screen.

“I know they’ve been watching me! The Russians!”

Luke put a calming hand on the man’s shoulders, and nodded understandingly “They have ears and eyes everywhere!”

“Your computer is infected with a virus please call this number” I heard a familiar voice chirp from his laptop.

“Oh! That’s just a-” clapping a hand over my mouth, Lex shook his head.

We backed slowly out of the room.


After Luke calmly walked the man out of the building, Lex and I collapsed on the floor behind Helen’s desk.

“You gonna’ make it princess?” she rasped.

“Not funny Helen! That was very scary for me!” Lex said.

I shook my head, “I’m not at all knocking your ability to think quickly in a crisis but…what made you get Luke of all people?”

“Well word on the street is, he’s got his eye on you… Helen… aaaaannnd….well…to be perfectly honest if someone is going to get attacked by a crazy person he seemed like the best option!” Lex said ignoring the incredulous look on my face.

I groaned, “Shouldn’t we set him straight at some point?”

Lex shook his head, “Why on earth would we do that?! Oh, guess what I found out today!? All this excitement, I almost forgot to tell you! Luke has an ex-wife…named Helen!”

I shuddered seeing the crazy look in Lex’s eye, “No you don’t think….”

“Oh yeah, I think so baby!” Lex clapped his hands in glee, “He must have a thing for Helens!”

Helen snorted and smacked her pack of cigarettes on the table, “Take one for the team hunny, no one wants to be the center of that man’s attention.”

We all fell silent as Luke walked back into the building.

“Thanks for that…” I said as Lex and I stood sheepishly from our hiding place.

Luke waved us off, “Anything for a pretty lady! Besides, my daddy is always saying I need to take more responsibility around here. Anyway, I better get back to work….busy, busy, busy you know! I’ll be seeing you around Helen.” Adjusting his suit jacket, he shot me a sleazy wink and glided out of the room.

Sinking back to the floor behind Helen’s desk, I glared up at her. She was wearing a name tag that read ‘Alice’.

Winking down at me, Helen patted my head. “Thanks again buddy, I don’t want to risk him getting the hots for me next.”