A weak password

782 words

Today’s entry is extremely silly and not very well-written. However, it was fun, and it does have the distinction of including an actual ending. So it has that going for it.

Jason was smashing the ESC key with the pad of his right index finger. His tablet skipped with the ferocity of his insistence.

ESC ESC ESC ESC ESC ESC

“You’re going to break it!” Amanda said, grabbing his arm right above the wrist. She could feel the fibrous tendons contract against her palm. She didn’t slow his assault.

“Does it matter?” Jason said, holding down various keys simultaneously as he molested ESC. “I mean, at this point, does it matter? This is completely fucked.” To punctuate his sentiment, he pounded his entire fist in the center of the keyboard. Amanda’s breath caught as the projection scrambled and disappeared for a moment, but then righted itself and came into focus. She let her breath out slowly.

“Jason,” she said, “please tell me the wedding memories weren’t in there.”

“Jesus, Amanda. You’re not getting this. Everything is in there.” He made a gesture with his hands that looked as if he was stretching a piece of gum between them. “EH-VER-EE-THING.” He looked at the projection helplessly. Collections of memories were winking out like one of those old tube-based TV sets. “There goes 2019,” Jason said.

It had started as soon as he waved the tablet to life an hour earlier. There was a message asking if he’d like to continue. Jason had never seen that before, but hey, what does he know? Sure, continue. What the hell. He waved toward “Yes”.

There was a shudder and the image dissolved. It was soon replaced by another message:

CLOUD DELETION VERIFIED. PLEASE STAND BY.

Jason watched, uncomprehending, as items he had meticulously catalogued and filed in his approved cloud allotment appeared, only to neatly evaporate a moment later. By the time he’d figured out what was going on, 2012-2014 were no longer a part of his past. Well, part of any past that could be observed, and that was pretty much the same thing.

He shut down the system and restarted—usually the remedy for such things—but if anything, the process sped up. 2016 was being consumed into nothingness when Amanda walked in. She’d understood what was happening almost immediately, and had connected with tech support just to be put on hold. She was told by a soothing manufactured voice that the wait time would be “only 95 magical minutes.”

Jason was watching memories of a terrier materialize, produce a wet, pink tongue, then fade away.

“Oh no, oh God, oh no,” Amanda said, pressing the buttons with renewed desperation. “Not Toby. No, please, no, not Toby.”

Toby playing tug-of-war with a dirty sock. Gone.

Toby sleeping with a paw over his scruffy snout. Gone.

Toby begging for a bit of cheese, bouncing a stuffed toy on his nose like a seal, curling up against Jason for a belly rub. All gone.

Amanda was wiping her face with an increasingly soggy sleeve. “How did this happen? I mean, what did you do? You just changed the password last week.”

Jason glanced quickly at Amanda, then back at the projection. His brother was disappearing, but he didn’t care that much.

“You did change the password, right?”

He didn’t look at Amanda. “I, um. I meant to. But—”

“Oh for fuck’s sake! You were still using your iris?” Amanda jabbed an index finger toward her eye incredulously. “Jesus fucking Christ! How many times have I told you how weak that password is? You might as well use your fucking fingerprint!”

Jason covered his head with his arms as if he were expecting a blow. “I know, I’m an idiot. I’m really sorry, Amanda. I’ll fix this. I’ll—”

“Jason?” Amanda said, looking behind him toward the living room. You didn’t… you didn’t store any furniture in the cloud, did you?”

Jason sighed. “I told you,” he said, showing her his palms. “Everything went in there.”

“The couch is gone,” she said.

Jason spun around. Sure enough, there was an empty space where the couch had once been. The coffee table soon followed, as did the armchair. The rug shimmered and dissolved. The books flickered out, one by one, until the bookcase was left empty. And then it, of course, was no longer there.

Amanda gasped when Casper, the goldfish, blubbed his last. “You put Casper in the cloud?!”

Jason shrugged. “Yeah, I mean, why not? It was supposedly safe.” Jason surveyed the room, watching as their home became more cavernous. “Amanda,” he said. “I’m really sorry. But I promise you, we can fix this. We can’t be the first people this has happened to. I’m sure there’s a procedure, a back-up somewhere. We can fix this.”

There was silence. Jason turned around.

He was alone.

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