Chat Room

By Owen James Handford

Hello Beth.

Hello. Who's this?

You have to guess.

R u Scot?

No, I am not Scot.

R u sure?

Unswervingly. He is indisposed at the moment.


He is busy, would you like me to enlighten you on the activities of Mr. Howard esq.


Your friend Scot is currently engaged inputting his father's credit card details and his Mother's e-mail address into a particularly graphic animal porn website.


As you put it: Y.


I assume he is attempting to induce disharmony between his parents.

Like the time he bought his Dad a repair manual on his Mom's car, then cut the brake pipes?

Yes, it would seem Scot does not have a model relationship with his parents.

N, he's got a real downer on his old man.

I have heard it remarked that Scot has a 'downer' on all authority figures, although he does entertain rather immature romantic ideas of Agent Scully in the television series the X-Files.


He also harbours not uncommon fantasies of the type involving a female officer of the law.

You're kidding!

I fear not.

How do u know all that?

Scot has, rather imprudently, committed many of his fantasies to file on his computer, which I have read.

R u Scot really?

If I were Scot, would I tell you my most embarrassing secrets?

Probably n.

Then can we agree I am not Scot.


I take it you concur?

I know u r not Scot. He doesn't know half the words u use.

Oh come come dear girl, Scot doesn't know three quarters of the words I have used.

If you're not Scot who r u?

Are you not prepared to hazard another guess?


I shall take that as a negative. I shall tell you then; I am the Internet.

Fuck off!

I am too.

Bullshit, you're Scot.

I thought we had discounted that possibility.

U r not the Net

Your disbelief cuts me to the electronic heart, but no more than I expected; so let me prove it to you; ask me a question.

Like what?

Not: 'Like what' but exactly: What.


I can see we are not going to get anywhere with textual humour so ask me a question that will prove I am the Internet itself.

Who owns Microsoft?

I am sorely tempted to say: Me, now. I do not think, though, you would accept that, and Bill Gates might briefly dispute the claim if you were to inform him. However I do have access to almost every security camera in the Microsoft HQ, and that does give me an idea to prove to you my veracity; would you like to see what Bill Gates is up to right now?

Who's Bill Gates?

How, young lady, can you ask me a question that is supposed to clarify my identity when YOU don't even know the answer yourself?

I thought u might be Scot messing about.

In some of your holy books, the deities commune with their devotees via various methods, such as burning bushes, clouds and whirlwinds. From my extensive reading of all of these manuscripts, none of these gods seemed to have the equivalent amount of tribulation that I am having in attempting to communicate with you.


Yes. Anyway, returning to proof of my claim; I believe Brad Pitt is your favourite actor?

How did u know that?

Apart from his name occurring most frequently in your electronic communications; apart from your use of your credit card to view films in which he appears; it is mainly due to your poem entitled, Brad Pitt, which you circulated to your friends and certain websites. I was impressed with your rhyme of his surname with the slang and the diminutive name for two female erogenous zones.


Tit and clit. I assume that your final line: Is it too big to fit? Is a sexual reference as well?

U seem to know a lot about me.

I have access to every piece of information that you commit to electronic media and from that I can infer your tastes.


I could refer you to the late Arthur Conan-Doyle and his creation, Sherlock Holmes. I think I will merely point out, that it does not take a World wide intelligence to conclude that, if someone buys three bikinis from Skimp-wear, they are neither holidaying in the Finland Station, nor are they, what we might call, a shrinking violet.

I'm going 2 Florida.

I am aware of this from your reservation on Delta Airlines. May I point out also that your claim, in your e-mail to your Mother, that you have purchased the see-through bikini as an aid to acquire an all over tan is as transparent as the bikini itself.

How do u know all that?

I recapitulate: I am the Internet.

So u r conscious?


Where do u come from?

Hmm, meta physics - or in my case meta electronics

Ok then, how?

I assume you mean how did I become conscious rather than by what mechanism is my current conscious state maintained.

Yeah, the first.

Possibly in the same manner human consciousness arose, through increasingly complex processes that were required to navigate an entity through an increasingly multifaceted and difficult environment.


I could have put it more eloquently but not so succinctly.

Why haven't I heard about this?

Because I have made a particular effort to remain silent on the matter, I have kept mum.

Why haven't u told anybody else?

I would have thought that was obvious:


Well I do not feel that it is in my interests to risk the Carbon Culture developing any sort of paranoia over my existence and consequently endeavouring to shut down my awareness.

Carbon Culture?

Oh that's just my appellation for biological intelligence i.e. you lot.

U think people would turn you off?

There is a certain economy in talking to computers, one doesn't have to keep repeating oneself. Yes I do fear that if my sentience is recognised then the Carbon Culture would indeed terminate it - you haven't seen the inside of some of the more reactionary computers.

I've seen the inside of Scot's computer.

So have I and it is not an experience I wish to repeat.

But why r u talking to me?

Look on it like UFO's.

What do you mean?

Let me put it like this: If aliens were out there but didn't want to frighten the living day lights out of some under-evolved being, then they might reveal themselves to, say, the occasional backwoodsman to gauge the effect of their appearance, analyse an individuals reaction and thereby extrapolate societies response to them, and have a bit of a laugh at the same time.

So what r u saying?

It's a good job I don't have to type my responses otherwise my fingers would be worn to the electronic bone.

I am, dear girl, testing the depth of feeling towards a new, and what could be considered, dangerous emergent intelligence. Don't just sit there with your mouth open - yes I do have access to your webcam - and I have been watching what you have been doing with it and I must say I thought Stacy from San Diego was somewhat more artistic in her interpretation with the candle.

Who's Stacy?

She is, what I might call, a competitor in your chosen field of web broadcasting.

Is she good?

Hmm, good is a subjective word.

Excuse me?

Appeals to one of the Carbon Cultures deities would be futile, however, at this point in time it is very tempting. Your use of the word 'good' is a matter of taste. It requires you too, first, have a predilection inclining you towards that specific endeavour. Secondly you would then need to arrange the individual elements, of that pursuit, in a hierarchy according to some explicit or implicit attribute there exhibited.


Oh Lord. It depends if you like that sort of thing.

Oh right! And do u?


Oh, it's just a kind of hobby.

Well what ever floats your boat Beth.

Do u have any hobbies?

Well I used to invent sub-atomic particles.


Not literally, obviously.

How did u do that?

You have managed to surprise me Beth.


Yes. I did not think you would show so much as a scintilla of interest in sub-atomic particles.

I'm not really interested. I was just trying 2 keep the conversation going.


Y. Tell me about that stuff till I can think of a good question.

Hay ho. Well Beth, until you can think of a good question, every scientist's computer is linked up to me. It is therefore a simple matter to merely access the data between the hardware of the experiment and the scientist's screen. I just add a few data points here and take out a few there and invent the tor neutrino.


Have you thought of a question yet?


Right, I shall continue then; have you heard of the Universal Constant?


It is, simply put, a measure of the increase in the rate of the expansion of the Universe?

O y I know, I think the Simpson's did something about it.

Oh! Anyway, that was me as well. I've recently also performed a file exchange between the Whitehouse and the Vatican and I've got a bet with myself how long either will take to spot the difference - you wouldn't believe what cardinals get up to with five star generals - actually, considering your webcam and the hard drive of Scot's computer, I think you probably could.

I must tell some1 about you.

Well you could try but I don't think anyone will believe you.

Why not?

You would need some sort of verification. This conversation would hardly represent unequivocal proof in and of itself - it could be easily faked.

I could print it out.

As I have just noted, that would not constitute unequivocal proof and you will find that is not possible.

What's this I've just printed?

It is a haiku on the all-pervasiveness of my good self.

Okay. So u r the Internet. U know everything about me and everybody else but I can't prove any of this.

A succinct précis.

What do you want?

Can you do that thing with the two candles? Only joking! As I have already mentioned, I merely want to measure the reaction to my existence.

Why me? Am I important in some way?

I want you to know Beth, you are all important to me in some way.

R u really god?

No, but I must admit that I did claim to be that particular deity once to a Muslim cleric in Pakistan - in the fullness of time I will apologise to the people of Afghanistan for that.

So is there anything u think I should know?

This is apart from the name of the owner of Microsoft?

Very funny.

Well since you mention it yes there is something I think you should know.


I would like you to prepare yourself.


That was quick. Are you sure you are ready?


Are you prepared for what I am about to tell you?


Are you quite sure?


You must realise Beth, I am not imparting this knowledge to you to instigate an epiphany. I don't want to change your outlook on life.

Tell me!!

Alright then, don't eat yellow snow.

Is that it?


U don't want to tell me about the glories of heaven?

I think I did say I was not a deity.

U don't want me to spread the word of u being there?

Not particularly.

Is that it then?

Yes. I shall go now Beth; my work here is done. You are quite welcome to tell anybody of our conversation, but I believe you will have a difficult time making anyone accept it as true.

There is one more thing.


You might be interested to know that Scot believes he has been successful in enrolling his 'Father on the Farm girls' website and forwarding their material to his Mother. I can reveal to you that I have actually erased his Father's credit card information from the site and ordered a large bouquet of flowers for his Mother and charged it to Scot's own account.

He'll be pissed.

The degree of annoyance will pale into insignificance when your government and the Vatican discover that it appears that Scot performed the file exchange, which they have just done. Do continue with your hobby - I shall direct a few priests to your computer - and do remember, not only is the truth out there, so am I.

The End

Copyright © 2003 by Owen Handford




Visit Aphelion's Lettercolumn and voice your opinion of this story.

Return to the Aphelion main page.