How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Digital Overlords
A Short Story by William Hrdina
Please forgive my sloppy handwriting. Pen to paper is the only way I can tell this story- anything electronic is... dangerous. I have an old fashioned mimeograph machine to make copies of my tale when I'm done. If you don't know what a mimeograph machine is- go ahead and Google it- I'll wait.
Crazy huh? I'm going to have purple ink on my fingers for a month.
But enough about me- I'm not here to talk about my fingers- I'm here to write about Leo Vine.
I first met Leo in a bookstore. Looking back, it feels like a pretty undramatic place to have met him, but there you go. I was looking at the latest in a series of recent books striving to revive the JFK Lone Gunman theory and shaking my head in disgust. I turned around and purposely re-shelved the book in the wrong place. I'm a firm believer in the CIA/military industrial complex version of JFK's death- and even if it was just the Mob who pulled the trigger- Oswald was a patsy (and a pretty major asshole to boot). But there I go, talking about myself again.
Leo saw me re-shelve the book in the pets section.
He said, "Not a big believer in the magic bullet eh?"
"Not so much." I agreed, chuckling.
And just like that, we were friends. Sometimes you just hit it off with people. Like I said, not particularly dramatic.
We started hanging out- going to movies- going to the bar- just guy bullshit. As I got to know him, I learned conspiracies were Leo's hobby. He was into conspiracy the way some guys are into football or fantasy baseball. You name the plot and he knew all about it. Why Lincoln was killed, JFK, mind control experiments, UFO cover-ups, the Chupacabra, chem.-trails, P2, Ong's Hat, the Bilderbergers, time machines, the Trilateral Commission, the Cult of Barbara Streisand, the zombie John Coltrane hunting Kenny G, Tesla's death rays and the Secrets of Fatima- he knew about them all.
A rather imaginative guy, Leo wasn't satisfied to just read other people's theories, he started inventing his own. Most of the time, Leo openly admitted he didn't believe the stuff he invented. He thought of the whole endeavor as a mental exercise- truth wasn't important. For him, creating labyrinthine plots of hidden relationships was great fun. He kept a blog where he'd pontificate, often at length, about things he didn't really think were even remotely plausible. His blog was written under a pseudonym. I guess that should've told me something right there. But I never thought anything of it at the time.
I didn't believe Leo's theories any more than he did, but I loved hearing them. He was Holmes, but I'd like to think I was his Moriarty- Leo enjoyed my company because sometimes I saw connections he'd missed. But that was just occasionally. Most of the time, it was like having my own personal TV show. Leo'd knock back beers and by the third one- he'd be on a roll. I might as well have been learning the secrets of the island on Lost. It was so entertaining- I eventually realized I was a fool to not start recording our conversations.