ML Kejera: Dash Thompson and the 21st Century Machine

Frida Kahlo, “The Suicide of Dorothy Hale”, 1938. Source: wikiart.org

for Stan Lee

I

In Which we Meet the Suicidal God

As silence booms in a dark room whose only light

is the dying kind radiating off a dying laptop,

Dave Daggert, a desolate, destitute young man,

just days from drowsing off at his own college graduation,

stirs what his dealer calls Dragon’s blood

into his glass of Jack Daniel’s and dry gin.

Soon, he thinks: my past-sins and would-be failures will

be flushed into the bin. Excusing his confusing of

toilets and trash cans, we must be patient with young,

desperate Dave for he knows not what lies in store for him.

Dear Dave is to enter into that long twilight

and dance between the realms of

night and day.

Dave as he swirls his Dry Dragon Daniel is,

before our very eyes,

describing, detailing, and dreaming

his dangerous, devil-may-care online alter ego,

Dash Thompson, true hero of this daring tale,

fighter of the good fight,

leader of the revolution, the scourge of the

21st century machines and Dash’s sidekick

the always alert, always ready Dot Com.

Now, true believer, we must let Dave Daggert drift

between kingdoms of light and dark

and bend our ears to the drone of Dash Thompson.

 

II

In Which Our Hero Triumphs over the Machine

“Dash, Dash!”

Dot Com screams into his dazzling, dangerous Dash Thompson™ phone.

“The Great 21st Century Machine has launched a vicious, villainous, and

viral attack against you on the Twitterverse.

He called you a bitch, Dash. On the internet.”

“I’m on my way.” Responds the dainty yet dangerous

voice of our hero, Dash Thompson,

friend to all who surf the web,

demon to those who oppose freedom,

scourge of the… well, you get the picture by now, true believer.

“Dot Com, you look as plump, pumped, and round as ever,”

Dash screams to his loyal sidekick

as he bursts through the windows of Dot Com’s mother’s basement.

“Is that a fedora I see, old friend?”

“We’ve no time for pleasantries, Dash. He called you a bitch.

On the internet.”

“The dastardly fiend,”

Dash says showing his beautiful, glittering, and dangerous! teeth.

“He should call himself the Not-So-Great 21st Century Machine.”

“Another smashing taunt, Dash, old boy,”

Dot Com says, suddenly becoming English.

“Now on to the Machine.

The quicker I deal with this fiend,

the quicker justice,

and my honor, will be redeemed.

To the laptop, Dot!”

The daring Dash Thompson dives to Dot Com’s new

BookMac™ and reads the torrentuous tweet.

WORD ON THE STREET IS DASH THOMPSON’S A TOTAL BITCH. I’VE LONG SUSPECTED HIM OF BEING ONE #SORRYNOTSORRY #HADBREAKFASTTODAY #CHEESEOMELETE #DASHTHOMPSONISABITCH

“Egad!” Dash says. “His hashtag game is out of control.”

“Dash, old boy,” Dot Com screams,

“how will you ever YOLO your way out of this one?”

But as all hope seems lost for our daring duo,

a light dances in Dash Thompson’s eyes, dangerously!

“By Dionysus, I’ve got it Dot.”

Dash says as he starts typing away at the keyboard.

THE GREAT 21ST CENTURY MACHINE SHOULD CALL HIMSELF THE NOT SO GREAT 21ST CENTURY MACHINE ACTUALLY MAKE THAT THE LATE 21ST

CENTURY MACHINE #KILLEDHIM #UJUSTGOTDASHED

 

III

In Which Our Hero Celebrates His Triumph

“Smashing, Dash, smashing!” Dot Com trumpets.

“What say you to a lovely dip in the old jacuzzi?”

“You know what I always say Dot,

where there’s water, Dash Thompson will gather.”

“Well, that doesn’t really suit the moment, does it, Dash?”

“Just imagine I had said something clever, Dot.”

“Brilliant, Dash, Brilliant.”

And as the duo laughs off into the sunset that

has appeared out of nowhere,

we should remember desperate Dave Daggert.

Do you remember him, true believer?

He who weaved the wondrous tale of Dash Thompson

with his melting brain matter?

He who might now be very well dead.

Do you care, true believer?

Does Dave Daggert care?

Do I care?

Do we even say YOLO anymore?

 


ML Kejera is a Chicago-based writer of Gambian origin. His work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Strange Horizons, PanelxPanel, Cafe Irreal, and The Outline.