Tag Archives: gif

The Hacker

(After Poe’s ‘The Raven’)

Once upon a midnight dreary,  browsing websites weak and weary,
Over many a meme I’d seen before,
While I nodded, sleep-eye wiping, suddenly there came a typing,
As of some old friend skyping, skyping at my monitor.
`’Tis some spam,’ I muttered, `skyping at my monitor –
Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each facebook member posts their food and sporting score.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From the internet a cease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore.

And the lilting loop of each user’s sign in
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`’Tis some spammer entreating entrance at my monitor –
Some spambot entreating entrance at my monitor; –
This it is, and nothing more,’

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,’ typed I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is my eyes were drooping, and so gently was the booping,
And so faintly you came typing, skyping at my monitor,
That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I brightened my monitor; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But silence began to sink, and the darkness gave no link,
And the only word there typed was the italic word, `Lenore!’
This I cut and pasted, and text pinged back the word, `Lenore!’
Merely this and nothing more.

Back to the browser turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a typing somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,’ said I, `surely that is something at my window software;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis some spam and nothing more!’

Open here I clicked the link, when, with many a drag and scroll,
Up there popped a chat avatar like emoticons of years before.
Not the least ‘sup’ or ‘lol’ made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with manner of spam or hacker, froze upon my monitor –
Overlapped my Pallas wallpaper on my monitor –
Overlapped, and froze, and nothing more.

Then this ebony box beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the textbox it wore,
`Though thy looks be much like spam, thou,’ I said, `art sure no scam.
Ghastly grim and ancient hacker wandering from the nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is in the Matrix core!’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

Much I marvelled this anonymous chat to read discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing text upon his monitor –
Spam or bot above the statue wallpaper upon his monitor,
With such name as `Nevermore.’

But the chat, sitting lonely atop the wallpaper, showed only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he typed – not a character then he skyped –
Till I scarcely more than griped `Other friends have spammed before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have shown before.’
Then the chat said, `Nevermore.’

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly keyed in,
`Doubtless,’ said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some shady database whom unmerciful lowercase
Pinged fast and loaded faster till his code one burden bore –
Till the software of his system that melancholy burden bore
Of “Never-nevermore.”‘

But the hacker still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of chat and wallpaper and monitor;
Then, upon the leather sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous avatar of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous avatar of yore
Meant in typing `Nevermore.’

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fiend whose blinking cursor now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s leather lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose leather stitched lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, I heard a grinding, system slower, lagging from a muted iTune
Sung by U2 whose drum-beat silenced on the muted stereo.
`Wretch,’ I cried, `thy Programmer hath lent thee – by these dial-tones sent thee
Sprites – Sprite and Gin from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind tonic, and forget this lost Lenore!’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if spambot or devil! –
Whether troller sent, or whether mailing list tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there ointment in your drawer? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if spambot or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
Tell this soul with heavy heart if, within the distant bonus level,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

`Be that word our sign of logging off, spambot or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting –
`Get thee back into the matrix and the Ethernet’s core!
Leave no hard drive wiped as a token of that lie thy soul hath typed!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the chat window upon my monitor!
Take thy cursor from out my heart, and take thy form from off my monitor!’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

And the hacker, cursor never sinking, still is blinking, still is blinking
On the wallpaper gif of Pallas that decorates my monitor;
And his blinks have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the backlight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the monitor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!

Memorial GIFset

Kelly stands with Amy in the back corner of the Mourning Customer Service parlor, watching a GIFset of The Bot’s life set to a soundtrack of minor key piano parts and synthesizer strings. She turns around to face her friend and says “I’m still not sure I really believe this is happening.” She folds her arms across her chest and shivers.

“I know what you mean,” Amy says, and wraps her arms around Kelly’s neck, pulling her in to an affectionate hug. Kelly keeps her arms across her chest, and both eyes set on the biopic GIFset. A moment passes. Kelly drops her stiffened shoulders, letting Amy pull herself closer, share in the warmth, and protect them both from the oppressive overhead cooling fans of the over-air-conditioned room.

“I’m so fucking pissed. Still, so fucking pissed,” Kelly says when she finally shrugs Amy away. “I’m sorry if this is rude or whatever, but seriously, what the hell was The Bot computing? What the hell process went through its tinny fucking head that made it do this?”

“I wish I knew,” Amy says. “I wish I knew.” She steps forward and tries to put her arm around Kelly once again, but Kelly squirms away, her body writhing and twisting like the snarl on her face as she avoids the forced affection.

“There’s like five thousand people here and no one ever wants to have a real conversation. It’s all just, ‘woe is me,’ ‘it’s all said.’ Of course it’s fucking sad! Of course it sucks!” Kelly closes her eyes for a moment to collect herself, crushing her fists into tiny rocks at her side. “It’s just, you can say it all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that The Bot was wired wrong, that some stupid fucking algorithm didn’t add up, so it Force-Quit every program and scrapped itself to fix the problem.” She collapses into the dark green loveseat with the red and purple vines stitched into it. She drapes her arm across her forehead as she sinks into the cushions, lets out a sigh, and then the punches the throw pillow beside her with her balled little hands. “And to top it all off, I didn’t even make it into the fucking GIFset. Like I wasn’t even worth a kilobyte in its memory,” she says, and stares ahead and watches the pixelated pictures of The Bot’s life flash by.

Amy sits down on the arm of the couch beside her. She motions towards the screen and says, “I think they just cobbled that together off of what they found on Twiblrspace.” She places her hand on Kelly’s knee.

“And I wasn’t a part of any of that,” Kelly says. “I wasn’t even around enough to make it into The Bot’s public cloud, or its Twiblrspace, or anything. I wasn’t there enough to know that there was something wrong, some virus or some wires crossed or —” Kelly waits until the threat of tears has passed, until Amy breathes a sigh of strength. “Where’s the backup?” she finally says. “The Bot had a cloud. That’s where you said they got the GIFs from. So the data’s still there. Still somewhere, anyway. So where’s The Bot?”

Amy smacks her lips. Her head bobs slightly as she swallows, shuffling her tongue around inside her mouth. She places her hand on top of Kelly’s. She breathes. She stands. She walks away.