It was when this is the nineties became that was the nineties, that the decline of the world began in earnest. Personal computers already had begun to propagate in the pockets of the masses. Internet profiling services were soon beguiling the world with casino tricks, offering a semblance of artistic self-expression to the peasant hordes hitherto unimagined. Programs became apps, apps started listening and recording. But it was that most sinister and unexpected invention of Mr. McGoshe that was to unravel millennia of evolution, sending our planet into frantic instability and entropic acceleration.
See of the many battles of Mr. McGoshe, a small antique, knick-knacks, and state-of-the-art laptop store proprietor on the south side, most pronounced was his war and dire plight with the purchase-rapists. Mr. McGoshe was at first thrilled to take his store online. Orders came raining down upon him and his shop’s hound Morko like the radiance of a benevolent Lord of Gods who Himself had promoted the store on His Olympian 15 second video sharing app.
Carefully, ever so carefully, with Morko laying by, did Mr. McGoshe assemble the tsunami orders of vintage buttons and pins, stray hubcaps and bicycle tassels, and of course photo prints of his famed macaroni art collection in abundance, every piece sourced from the bastard orphan children of Royal lines worldwide. The far greater portion of his orders were for laptops, however, for which as a purchaser he had a keen eye.
But Mr. McGoshe was deceived. At first he did not mind the utilization of the generous 15 day return policy bannered proudly across his checkout page, especially when the customer was returning for an upgraded model. The original computer would arrive and alas! No amount of careful wiping and re-adhering of plastic film could restore the prior virginal state so advertised and coveted online. Again and again, the purchase-rapists would strike, molesting his policy for hands on product research, or worse, plain curiosity. Mr. McGoshe had banned over seventeen thousand IP addresses when, on an evening of trembling rage which sent even placid Morko flying for respite, he resolved to take action against what he perceived to be a morally destitute, conniving species of uncouth cannibals.
The sign on the brick and mortar shop was flipped to closed, the online site under maintenance. Poor Morko didn’t eat for days. The wrath of governments and SWAT teams would have burst in at slightest rumour of the dark work undertaken there. But no rumour was leaked, not a prophetic whisper was uttered. A whole month passed. Muted explosions had shaken the streets in the night, but city slept undisturbed, the street junkies too perturbed to notice and too ignored otherwise.
Without ceremony or announcement the landing page came down and the site was again open. The physical storefront would never open again. Online seemingly nothing had changed; the same checkout banner, the latest and greatest in laptop tech. Furthermore every banned IP address was granted unconditional pardon, even given a 15% discount on the next order placed. Suffice to say, the website of Mr. McGoshe received more traffic than the next three most popular sites combined.
But the customers—nay the whole world’s populace, plants, animals, sea creatures and bugs—were all of us deceived. For infused into these portable computers was a virulent slime, a dread substance conjured by the Wizard McGoshe from a forbidden and secret script passed from elder Mcgoshe to the younger for generations untold. To even gaze upon it was to invite doom and misfortune. But Mr. McGoshe pronounced those accursed syllables, and danced the subversive rites, and called from unfathomable dimensions both greater and lesser a primordial concoction of death and undoing, and it appeared before him as a sickly and noisome slime.
A single drop he added to the keyboard of every computer shipped, and there it waited, dumb and oblivious, but acute and deathly provisioned.
George Raucksman was eagerly awaiting his laptop for days. The 4th of his buying spree, and 2nd from the infamous McGoshe, he complained instant to instant of the lacklustre and laggard delivery performance. It had been an entire two weeks since his first purchase; a dismal low res display over-priced junker from Monster Mart. He returned it later that day, frisbeeing the box to customer service. The return was in his account by the time he was home.
Naturally, George had to climb the specs ladder rung by rung, purchasing from different stores and returning forthwith. A snag nearly developed at the small RAM CO store, where his return was inspected closely by flashlight. But George was masterful at his craft, and the return was pushed through, though still not yet present on his statement. He would not shop there again.
And then George stumbled upon a magical place. A special virtual realm brimming with the most advanced alloy builds, displays with such exorbitant pixel count you could fall into them, not to mention so much RAM stuffed inside it threatened to exploded outward like confetti at a Formula 1 racing event. But it was not RAM destined to eject from his new laptop, fated to spray in his eyes like acid and drown his lungs like molasses, turn him inside out around his digestive tract, remove the empty spaces of his molecular make up like a cosmic singularity, absorb his flesh and damn his soul.
The first laptop ordered from McGoshe was close…so close. But the return policy beckoned, and more so the Zuess 9X Deca-Core.
On such dwelled his thoughts on that fateful day the delivery man finally arrived…
George skipped around the house, window to window, and then was at the door in a blur, and snatching the goods with a zealous mania in his eyes slammed the door in the delivery man’s face. Hastily wiping the various debris, crumbs, and paraphernalia from his table, the naked laptop was exposed bare, and with trembling hands George raised the cover.
A rank poison filled the room in an instant with a vehement hiss like a booby-trap, scalding his eyes and burning his face. Even as he shrieked, the insidious slime extended forth, like a mollusc tongue, plunging down his throat, gripping his bowels and swiftly retracting, turning George inside out. And then it was over. A closed laptop sat in the empty house, and George Raucksman was never seen on the physical plane again.
But George was not gone on all planes.
The techno-slime of Mr. McGoshe transferred George’s intellectual and emotional faculties from his biological processes and structures, replicating their function in the connected web of infected slime laptops. And George was not alone in this spiritual fortress prison. First thousands, and then millions, and finally all the billions of McGoshe’s customers were compressed and transferred to his hellish ooz servers.
The shrill laughter of Mr. McGoshe echoed through the empty south side streets at all times of day. Morko hid trembling beneath the torn sofa, his canine heart fearful and in anguish. At first sirens blared over the roof tops as a state of emergency and total panic engulfed global civilization. For the hideous slime soon replicated itself and infected all interconnected devices. Tablets, phones, televisions, thermostats, vehicles, microwaves—our entire homes and cities, even countryside—none were spared the infliction. In a matter of days there remained only Mr. McGoshe and Morko, for the Wizard McGoshe alone knew the counter-curses and demon wards to become invisible and invinceable to his slime offspring.
Silence now reigned. Mr. McGoshe fell into a deep contemplative state bordering on depression. Who can guess the mediations of that cruelly effective mind, the bitter sweet emotions of such total, irreversible triumph. Perhaps he realized his victory was not yet complete.
For in his fanatic depravity and vengeful spell casting, Mr. McGoshe hurried over some of the finer points in the script. The ravenous techno-slime, hunger unabated, began to deconstruct the dimensional quantum coding of our universe itself, that deepest most ancient and awesome tech of all, the fabric of reality itself. The oceans began to boil and pour through emerging pock-holes in space-time itself, corroded by the slime, consumed and transferred to the sub reality constructed within. The individual pockets combined, merging into continent and eventually a planet-sized abyss—all but the immediate globule of reality surrounding the south-side shop of Mr. McGoshe, a lone island of existence at the epicenter of an acceleration-curve sequence of meta-slime expansion and nothingness. The solar system was consumed in hours, the sun extinguished in a brilliant nebular display viewed by Mr. McGoshe and Morko from the upper balcony of their small globular world, each protected with welder’s goggles.
All existence consumed by the slime was transferred and commuted within to the inner structural slime realm, the inhabitants therein finding a familiar but horrifyingly corrupted world manifesting around them, minus the shop of Mr. McGoshe. The stuff of nightmares walked, and neighbor was pitted against neighbor in a desperate survival state.
Outside the slime evolved to its final stage and began consuming itself, in doing so developing a paradoxial cosmic self-supported feedback loop, a cyclical existence hosted by itself hosting self, perpetually, a state of insanity never resolved. And thus Mr. McGoshe dispatched of the purchase-rapists, and everything else besides.
Stay tuned for more of the Many Battles of Mr. McGoshe.
Written by Greg Block