My PC is Cheating on Me

Professor Charles A. Donet’s journal entry – the early years as provided by Eamon Singh, as provided by J. Herman
Art by Dawn Vogel

I have an image of a stranger’s hand in my cookie jar of life.

At odd times, when I take a moment between projects in my three-walled, open-planned, shared-space cubicle, smelling someone’s Kim Chee dish heating in the coffee room microwave. Or jarred awake from some fiscal nightmare, still tangled in my IKEA white comforter on the narrow futon at home around two AM–the latest Great Depression was not kind to me–wet with sour smelling sweat and breathing like I’ve just finished the last kilometer of a marathon that I’ve never run in my life …

I think how easily all that money that I see in digital form, a series of numbers representing bitcoins 4.X that I tally up daily while I wait for that number to tell me I’ve arrived at that vast goal of retirement somewhere in my future–how easily it can all go away.

They’re just bits on the Net …

I have an image of some programmer on the other side of the world huddled over a generator by candlelight, creating evil botnets and malcontented code that feeds information to peasants somewhere in China or India or, hell, maybe insourced back to Arkansas, sifting through the returned data for all the US population on this specific day, a Wednesday, to mine my identity–to personally come after what little wealth I’ve managed to scrape together.

And then my brain clamps down on that image, refuses to go down that pathway of thought, for that way lies madness and panic attacks. I know it’s madness. My AI thera-bot tells me that weekly. I turn on the light, and reach for the bottle of Xanax. The Xanax that my thera-bot prescribed for me a year ago and which now continues to ship from Amazon … automatically … seamlessly … renewed through the wonders of the computer network.


It all makes sense to me now.

The late night whirring of the laptop fan that rises in volume, the harder the machine works. No Windows update the next day to explain it.

I ask. I plead. I query, “What were you doing last night in my room?”

The white text on the black background in the little command window says, “No results returned.”

I come home to find the laptop is warm when I place it on my lap. And I know I left it in hibernate mode before I went out to the office.

Then there’s the smells. I get whiffs of something burning from my desk tucked in the corner of my bedroom when I return from foraging in the kitchen for a snack. It’s the same smell I get if I leave my comforter too close to the wall heater for a period of time during winter. A smell that tells me the battery is really, really hot because my PC is working really, really hard.

Just not for me.

My PC is Cheating on Me

I ask. I plead. I query, “What were you doing last night in my room?”The white text on the black background in the little command window says, “No results returned.” 

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2016 collection.

Professor Charles A. Donet received his ThD from the Reuss Européenne d’Informatisation (REI) Institution. After soaking up as much knowledge of Thermatology that he could find, Dr. Donet moved on to other studies after realizing he had not spent 10 years studying the art and science of “wonder working.” His years in Thermatology did pay off when he licensed his famous selection of Toad in the Hole recipes to a world renowned breakfast chain that requested anonymity in exchange for a small fee. In his later years, Dr. Donet has focused on the effect of creating Heisenbergian build up to affect people at a macro level. The fact that his studying these effects kept changing how he saw the world has been blamed for his escalating paranoia–a trait his students and colleagues were briefly observed to exploit every April 1st, until it all changed.

Eamon Singh is the celebrated Mupert Rudart of the tell-all social media sites. Mr. Singh has been published by the Daily Double, Quark’s Aplenty, Ripped, Open Wide and many other well-known sites that focus on the many odd and strange human proclivities for experimentation. Eamon Singh has published the definitive biography of Dr. Donet, “The Systemic Error on the Boxed Particle: Do You Think I’m Crazy?”

Mr. Singh has also holds the World Record for the most exploited Heisenbergian hoaxes ever performed during a single April Fool’s Day, when he was Dr. Donet’s lab assistant.

J. Herman has been a Rocket Scientist, a computer graphic developer for Hollywood films, a network god, and now a writer, which can also be considered sort of a god, who lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Dawn Vogel has been published as a short fiction author and an editor of both fiction and non-fiction. Although art is not her strongest suit, she’s happy to contribute occasional art to Mad Scientist Journal. By day, she edits reports for and manages an office of historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business and tries to find time for writing. She lives in Seattle with her awesome husband (and fellow author), Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. For more of Dawn’s work visit

“My PC is Cheating on Me” is © 2016 J. Herman
Art acompanying story is © 2016 Dawn Vogel

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