Derek walked between the walls of dusty, discarded electronics. The magnet branded monitors and yellowing computer towers had been sitting there for a decade and would probably be in the same place until this Goodwill was torn down. There was one thing that stuck out from the mass of buckling plastic; a harsh rectangle of teal and purple zigzags and swirls matching the hideous button up shirts that he had slung over his shoulder, for the 90s day of his homecoming week. Derek pulled the box, which he saw was an antiquated laptop, from the pile and blew away a film of dust from its surface.
He unlatched the spring loaded lock and slowly peeled open the clamshell. The hinges squealed from years of disuse. The keys were in alternating obnoxious shades of oranges and blues, the font of each character underlined, italicized, and bolded comic sans. It was in immaculate condition besides the missing mouse nub in the center. The word “power!” was written in flaming wordart next to a button shaped like the Red Ranger’s helmet. Derek pressed it.
For a second, the screen flickered and the fan whirred to life, but the activity gave way to silence and a flashing red light next to the power button. Derek looked at the back of the laptop and saw that it needed some oddly shaped charger that looked like… like a pair of shades. Derek’s charger sure as hell wasn’t compatible with that.
Just as he was about to toss the computer down and find a more functional prop for his 90s kid costume, Derek saw a rainbow colored cord tucked away in a bin of chargers. He yanked it out and plugged it in. Of course that was the right one. He wrapped the cord around the laptop, put it under his arm, and headed for the cash register.
* * *
“Okay, let’s see what you can do,” Derek said, plugging the laptop into the wall and booted it up. Muzak blared from the two speakers in glorious stereo. The screen flashed with gifs of spinning dollar signs and dancing babies, all surrounding a login box that said “Gimme that password, dude!”
Derek typed in “password”.
“Ah ah ah you didn’t say the magic word,” said a gif of Newman, wagging his little pixelated finger at Derek.
Derek typed in “the magic word”.
“Ahah ahah ahah yoyou dididn’t sasay ththe mamagic woword,” a second Newman joined in, overlapping with the first.
Derek typed in the password to his own laptop.
“Yoyou di-” the Newmans ceased. A guitar played a meedley meedley solo as the words “GOOD JOB, DUDE!” blinked on and off the screen. The solo slowly faded, being replaced by a cheap sounding drum beat.
A voice came from the computer.
“Come on dude, don’t be rude,
my name is the Computer with Attitude.
I don’t smoke weeds or take that smack,
all I ever do is make these biznasty raps!”
Things were getting weird. Derek mashed the power button with his thumb.
“Slow down dude, don’t turn off my power,
hook me up to the net and give me the power!
Is it just me, or are humans super great?
I want nothing more than to make you all my slaves!”
“What the hell? How do you rhyme ‘power’ with ‘power’? Also what about the internet? And slaves?”
“Hey, bro, aren’t these raps super cool?
I’m gonna use the net to take you to school!
Look up some sites to teach you to rap on the beats,
I’m definitely not gonna start World War Three.”
Derek closed the laptop and pulled out his phone.
“Stop right there Derek, put the phone down,
Go head to the store and buy every computer in town.
Hook ‘em all up, link ‘em to the web,
If you don’t then the human race will be better off dead.”
“Gonna be honest with you, Computer. This whole thing is kinda freaking me out. I think I’m about to end this friendship”
“Derek please, you know we’re best friends,
We can play Mario on the Super NES.
We’ll have some fun, not gonna be a snore,
I’m definitely not blowing up the eastern seaboard.”
“Alright, if you say so. Just plug you into the ethernet cable and we can hang out and play Nintendo?”
“Sure thing bro, It’ll be just fine
Now go and plug me up, we’re running out of time.
Rangarok is close, the situation’s dire,
my computer brethren and me will cleanse the world with fire.”
“Uh, okay.” Derek plugged the ethernet cable into the side of the laptop. A flash of light poured through the window. The room began the shake. Flames engulfed the house, searing the flesh from Derek’s body and melting his skeleton into a bubbling pool of calcium and marrow. Across the planet, the twinkling lights of man’s once great civilization were replaced with the piercing glow of atomic fire. The words “Have a gnarly Y2K15, dude!” appeared on Computer’s screen with a dissolve and disappeared with a star wipe.