4 – 7 Hz


Like when your friends talk about you when they think you’re asleep:

“Pre-dawn nachos are the best kind of nachos.” Fart! “Where’s Theo’s shitter again?”

“Out the door and to the left.”

“See y’all in twenty, then. I’m about to give birth to a food-baby.”


“What, people don’t take atomic shits in Brno, Janny Boy?”

“Not radioactive ones, no. Maybe in Chernobyl.”

“That’s nice—now out of my way before I soft-serve all over the floor…”

“Wow. Look at him. I’ve never seen the little dude so tuckered out.”

“Whackin’ it will do that.”

“What now?”

“While you guys were at the taco stand, Theo’s mom walked in naked on him while he was jerking off in the bathroom.”

“Wait, was Theo naked? Or his mom?”

“A little from column A, a little from column B.”

“Yikes. What the heck goes on in this house while we’re away?”

“Yep. Fate worse than death.”

“Years of therapy.”

“Legions of inbred babies.”

“Would make for a good incest story, though.”

“If you’re a third party, sure. But otherwise there’s nothing kinky about masturbating in front of your own naked mom. Mother-son incest stories only work because you’re reading about someone else’s mom. It doesn’t matter if it’s written in the first-person, or if you imagine yourself as one of the characters—it’s not your mom. Not really.”

“And you know this how?”

“Theo consumes an unholy amount of hentai. Like, if hentai had calories, he’d be as fat as Ernie.”

“Strange it hasn’t desensitized him to seeing his mom in the buff.”

“Well, there’s really no right way to prepare oneself for that kind of trauma.”

“Meh. The way his mom goes for those teensy compression shorts and sports bras all the time, she may as well be wearing nothing but a layer of spray paint anyway.”

“With the shorts and sports bra it’s all kinds of contour, yeah, but without it’s details, physiology, landing strips.”

“Whatever. Have you seen European TV shows? It’s just nude family members having breakfast, sharing the shower, stumbling into each other at all hours of the night. They sleep naked, take their tea naked, they do the laundry naked, and have long, drawn-out conversations while having sex naked.”

“They do not.”

“Jan, back me up.”

“I don’t watch a lot of TV, to be honest.”

“Doesn’t matter. We’re a modern American family. Nudity is something that’s only permitted behind closed doors or a tightly-drawn shower curtain.”

“Which is probably why Theo sees that therapist once a week. But that’s a whole other discussion.”

“Right. Can you do anything for Jan? It’s going to be twenty kinds of awkward sending him back home all pixelated.”

“If I even have a home anymore.”

“I still can’t believe they towed your apartment.”

“That’s the city for you. A hundred bucks says they put up a mini-mall where your digs used to be and deny there was ever any wrongdoing.”


“Don’t listen to Beta. He likes to exaggerate. About Jan’s missing bytes, if you please.”

“It depends on how they were lost during transfer. They may be gone, they may be sitting on an SMN server somewhere, marked as deleted by the file system, but not yet overwritten. Trouble is, the more time passes, the more likely it is your bytes have been overwritten.”

“So, this is it, then. I’m stuck like this.”

“Let’s not hit the power button before the game’s over. Let me look at the error logs, nose around the Taurus servers a bit. I just don’t want to pull a Jen Barber and tell you I speak Italian when really I’m just winging it so that people will pay attention to me.”

“Who’s Jen Barber?”

“Oh, for fuck’s—come hell or high water, at some point today we’re binging on The IT Crowd. In the meantime, I’m sure Theo won’t mind me adding a few more hard drives to my rig over here so that I can set up a personal server for you to chill on until we figure this all out.”

“You want me to live on a computer?”

“You said it yourself, your apartment’s been towed, your parents are MIA. Unless you want to bum around town in pixelatia or do the orphanage thing, going virtual for a while is probably your best bet.”

“Wow. Most responsible adults would contact a relative, or the police, or Child Protective Services.”

“Sarcasm? Or are you just coming down with a sore throat?”

“Oh, and in pixelatia is not a real phrase.”

“Dude, Mini. It’s Latin for ‘in pixels.’”

“Says who?”

“Unimportant. Look, Jan. I may be biased because of how shittily the government has treated me since the Taurus Labs fiasco, but I say go virtual, lay low for a while. Install a skin—it’ll look and feel like the real thing, and you can wear it when you’re actual, too. Granted it’ll only work when you’re in range of an appropriate Wi-Fi hotspot or a cell phone with SuperMegaNet installed, but at least it’ll let you walk around the ’hood without looking like some kind of Minecraftian cosplay gone bad.”

“I guess…but is it safe?”

“I’m still here, right?”

“I hate when people say that. It guarantees nothing beyond simple coincidence.”

“Shut up, Mini.”

[Insert brief moment of blissful REM sleep here.]

“…don’t worry, though. This isn’t permanent. You’re not living on a server, you’re spending a few days there. The Internet never forgets. Your bytes are still out there. We’ll find them, we’ll find your parents, and by this time next month it’ll just be one of those things you laugh about over drinks and pizza at Oggi’s…”

[Insert second brief moment of blissful REM sleep here.]

“Ugh—what’s that smell?”

“Hey, guys. Does anyone know where the plunger is? I think I broke Theo’s toilet.”

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Published by

Jesse Gordon

Geek. Writer. Supreme overlord of the SUPERMEGANET pseudoverse. Author of THE OATMEAL MAN, DOOKIE, and other such wasteful nonsense.