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I have no internet, but I must scream

In the re-introduced enforced absence of internet at home, I have found that my computer speaks.

‘Computer,’ I say, ‘what time is it?’
‘It is 9.24 pm,’ says the computer in a rush.
‘Computer,’ I say, ‘tell me a joke.’
‘Knock knock,’ says the computer instantly.
‘Computer, who’s there?’
‘Tivoli,’ says the computer, with eagerness.
‘Computer, Tivoli who?’
‘Computer, Tivoli who?’

‘Computer, Tivoli WHO? … Computer? Tivoli who? … Computertivoliwho? … Computer. Tivoli! Who?’

Is it my Australian accent that’s failing me? I try to roll my ‘r’s & sound more like the breathless, feminine computer voice.

‘Computahrrr, Tehvolay, who?’

I even type the phrase into MS Word & get Word to read the sentence out in the very same voice as the machine itself.

‘Computer,’ purrs Word, indifferently, ‘Tivoli who.’

The computer, in a fit of existentialist angst, cannot recognise its own voice.

‘Computer! Tivoli! WHOOOOOO?’ I shout.

Tivoli stands unanswered & unanswering at the door.

I want to ask, ‘Computer, what threat, what darkness lies without, that can withhold me, can keep so immune to my questioning? Who is the one who goes by the name of Tivoli? Some beast whose rough-hewn hour has come at last? Some razor’s edge, some abyss, some chaos come calling in a gown of pink flesh, to lay waste to the soft security of my home and Abandon Hope All Who Enter Here, the result of damage done or damage undone, my number coming up, my karmic justice standing armed and ready, my Knight, his shining armour dulled and tarnished by the oceans of time he has spent underground, my floor 9 1/2, my own, demented, tortured self? This, this ‘Tivoli’, will it wear a face I recognise? Will it reach out a finger of bone & say, ‘that which you bring is all you have’? Will it? Will it?!

‘Computer, computer,’ I whisper, sotto voce, deep with dread, sending my voice pitching down into an otherwise thickening silence, ‘Tivoli who?’

Quoth the computer: ….

And further: ….

‘Computer,’ I say at last, desperate to keep the silence from crawling my skin like ants, ‘what time is it?’
‘It is 9.32 pm.’