A little Friday fiction:
Kip’s Vibe® thrummed in his shoulder pack. He pushed his bag of chips further down the table and wiped his fingers on his pants. Then he unsnapped the card-sized canvas flap and pulled the brushed aluminum rectangle from its custom shirt add-on. He flipped it open and read the screen - a subscription message he had been waiting on. Kip paid ten dollars for this particular advanced notice. He touched the screen to bring it up. A blond bikini gal, lime green thong really, smiled, bent forward from the waist and declared, “Satisfaction is guaranteed. Everything 2.0™ is now available, for a special pre-release cost to our subscribers!” She puckered her orange lips, and the image zoomed in on her mouth. Tiny black letters appeared, “If you want Everything™ 2.0, click here.” Then her lipstick changed colors to bright pink. The words turned white and the bikini gal vibrated into a corporate logo.
“Gotta get it.” Kip said to himself, the way thirteen year olds do. He snapped the Vibe® closed and pushed it back into its sleeve.
Of course, three months earlier he had gotten the Everything™ Initial Release Pack which was, he should have known, not even close to Everything™ Complete, but close enough or at least better than nothing. He knew from the discussion boards two-point-oh would have updates including third world libraries and new glyphs for previously speech-only languages. Additionally, two-point-oh would have a universal translation program available for all northern hemisphere languages – so that anything could be turned into English, or whatever. And, the ad said, all North American birth, death, marriage, divorce, and adoption certificates were included, along with a free month long trial of the bi-daily update service for this datum; not that he’d use it, but still.
Kip did the numbers quick in his head and knew he didn’t have enough. He’d talk with dad first, mom second as necessary. His chances were good. He hadn’t asked for anything in days, and his grades lately were C or better. But if dad checked the school’s site, it would be harder. What was it with checking his grades? Kip only knew a few parents that made it an endeavor to check their kids’ grades.
If dad said no Kip would have to wait three precious days for the custody to change back to mom who, he knew, would make a big deal out of it. “Why do you need this?” she’d screech just to make it difficult. Then she’d probably say something about his weight and make him go outside, like there was anything to do outside. He’d walk around, get all gross, and then have to shower when he got back in.
He had to have Everything 2.0 before Mackey; some kid in Philadelphia and Kip’s greatest Vibe-hood rival. It was Mackey who first got Everything™ the Pre-Release, and Everything™ Complete days before anyone, including Kip. Thus armed, Mackey produced near complete blog histories and .tif toon libraries from the previous three decades, his hits and Vibe-hood crony-wannabes easily quadrupled in the days he held the edge. Previous to that, Kip’s counters were well beyond anyone else on the site. Kip wanted to regain his edge.
“Dad...” Kip yelled, walking towards the kitchen, where his dad worked from a laptop.
After the excruciating wait for his dad to pry the credit card from his wallet and enter the numbers on the site, the download took almost twenty minutes. “How come I can’t use the fiber lines?” he asked, again. He spent most of the time pushing his hair out of his eyes and drumming his fingers on the table.
“Because the fiber lines are for work. The company monitors the traffic on them.” Kip’s dad regretted not swapping out with his ex. He knew it was going to be a long week of work but some dumb pride kept him from taking her up on her offer.
“Look,” she had pointed at her calendar. “I’ll take him next week if you can have him during my seminar. Otherwise…”
He didn’t let her finish. “Nope. The lawyers set the schedule. Let’s not upset things.” And now he wanted so bad for Kip to just leave him alone while he continued with the financials; dumb pride.
Kip knew the speech about the fiber lines and hated it. Cable was so slow. And then there was the wait for the parental control filter; stupid parental control filter. It moved through each library analyzing the tags. Kip’s greatest fear was that one day Mackey, or some other Vibe-hood, would find a way to unlock all the tags. If that happened, Kip would just quit the site. His stuff was too sanitized as it was. No way he could compete with someone posting non-tagged content.
Finally, dad out of the way, Kip dragged a collection of some neo-Manga translations, early South Korean stuff from the 90s, to his site and set up a quick link. There was a good chance most of the south
Asia content was raw; untagged with great potential for anyone patient enough to wade through the links. He sent an, “I got it,” alert to his own Vibe-hood cronies, including Mackey.
Figuring that was enough for one day Kip opened a different venue on his Vibe®, went to a retro-game site where he waited for someone else interested in maybe some Speed-Pong or Tetris. When no one showed he got bored and logged out, walked downstairs to find something to eat.