Thursday, December 24, 2009

Early Release

It was December of 2050. Nick had just returned to work from the lab. This time he asked for the music nanoseed.

Planted in his brain with a couple of whiffs of a solution containing nanobots, Nick now had ten million compositions available to his senses via the self-assembled device, smaller than a grain of sand, now building itself, autonomously, in his brain. He had saved for three months, and had accumulated enough credits to buy the service.

He could close his eyes, concentrate on a genre of music, and it would “play” in his head. He could stop, pause, continue, repeat.raise and lower the volume – just by concentrating a little harder than usual.

The year before, he got the video chip, and all the films and news he wanted was available to him, any time, anywhere. People had always kidded about getting a TV chip planted in the brain, but it had come to reality about fifteen years ago.

He actually preferred the music device. He always loved music, and when he was in his first year of college, at eleven, he played a little saxophone and a couple other retro, wind and reed instruments.

Today, at work, while decompiling some algorithms for the department, he chose to listen to some old music that they played during Christmas time in the United States. He had heard of the Chipmunk song – a novelty song people played during this time of year. It began playing immediately. He didn’t have to concentrate very hard at all. It played, then started again. He hadn’t thought of it repeating at all, and it played a third and forth time.

It was a little disconcerting, since decompiling complex programs written in superTech code demanding concentration, even for a fellow of Nick’s abilities. It played seven or eight more times, and it seemed to be getting a little faster and a little louder. He struck the side of his temple a few times with the hard palm of his hand. Nothing. He didn’t think it would work, but he tried again. Nothing.

After a couple of hours of the din in his head, he used his mobile to make a priority video call to the lab. They were not answering. He called the company that made the nanobots. They were not answering. There was no voice message, nor were the calls forwarded to a central service.

He concentrated on silence, then tried a simple piano piece. One of Chopin’s Nocturnes. Nothing. Still the incessant, high-pitched voice of Alvin the Chipmunk. This went on for twenty more days. They tried everything, but to operate at this time would paralyze or render him organically or virtually deaf, if it worked.

Nick put in a request for “early release”, as it was called. He took the black pill, and the music stopped.

T. Pitre
Xmas eve, 2009

Get the song that drove Nick insane, here:

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