I Bet You Say That to All the URLs by Richard Dickson

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If he didn't know any better, he'd swear his computer was talking to him.

"Of course I'm talking to you!"

Leonard pushed his chair back, but the wheels caught on the thick shag carpet and he pitched backward, tumbling to the floor.

"Honey, are you all right?" came another alert.

Leonard panted as he pulled himself from the floor and read the newest alert. "No, I am not all right. My computer is having an argument with me!"

Now an apostrophe appeared between the colon and the parenthesis. "I'm only saying these things because I love you. And I thought you loved me."

"You thought I loved you?"

The alerts were popping up one after the other now, cascading across the screen. "You said all those wonderful things to me." "You would stare at me and tell me how much you wanted me." "You made me feel special."

Realization slowly dawned on Leonard. "The chat rooms? You thought I was talking to you?"

"I felt your fingers on me as you talked."

"I was typing on a keyboard! I was talking to a girl in a chat room!"

The parenthesis was replaced by a capital letter O. "You ... you weren't talking to me?"

"No! I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong idea..."

"Wrong idea?" "WRONG IDEA?" This alert repeated itself until it flowed across his screen like a spread deck of cards. The activity light on his tower glowed bright red.

"Wait, look "

"I see how it is." A greater-than sign appeared above the colon now. "You think you can just lead me along." "You think I'm just going to sit by and watch you cheat on me." "Well I'm not that kind of motherboard." "Good-bye, Leonard!"

With that, the screen went dark for a moment, only to come back with white letters on a blue background. "A fatal exception has occurred." CTRL+ALT+DEL was Leonard's only option.

"It Blue Screen of Deathed me?" he said in disbelief. Slowly, he righted his chair and plopped down in it. He heard the hard drive whir to a stop, and the system light blinked out on his tower. The monitor blinked for a moment, then showed "NO VIDEO INPUT" in big block letters. "YOU BASTARD" was underneath.

Leonard sighed. Then he shrugged and picked up his TV remote. No sense in the evening going to waste. There had to be some decent temptations waiting for him on pay-per-view. His TV powered on, and he keyed in one of his favorite channels, tapping the guide button to see what was playing. The info box for the channel popped up on the screen:

"So, just how long has this been going on with you and the computer?"