Michael was pissed. Not pissing himself laughing, but actually pissed.
He paid no attention to the matrix of 32 monitors from his central control room. He paid no attention to the surveillance imagery that the monitors displayed, a task he would perform for days or weeks at a time thanks to his methylphenidate.
"Those ignorant motherfuckers!"
The screen at the center showed a badly deformed Brian Lazara, in the midst of being tortured. On day 1 of the benevolent Crawfordian rule, which began the day after he successfully solved the software problem, Crawford's minions began a brutal campaign of torture.
Shards of jagged and rough glass were used to gouge Brian's eyes out. As the days pass, digits were removed, sometimes being burned off, sometimes with pliers, sometimes through crushing, and sometimes through even more creative means. As the weeks passed, acid treatments and selective sawing slowly shriveled his limbs to his torso. Now that the years have passed, he had no arms, no legs, and his torso was badly scarred from cuts, burns, and toxic treatments, distributed across his whole torso countless times.
The screen to the immediate right showed Trisha Vavak. From the outside, it looked as though she fared much better than her criminal counterpart. However, Trisha solely endured sexual abuse above the physical and psychological abuse that Brian suffered.
The video surveillance zoomed in as the vaginal pear was inserted, without lube, into her badly used groin region, for the thousandth time. The pear expanded deep inside her vagina, causing intense pain as it stretched her beyond the limits. The sharp, clawed and pointed edges scrapped against her already-bruised cervix as it twisted inside of her. Trisha was so dehydrated she was unable to cry. She had become so accustomed to the tortured excruciating pain that she no longer lost consciousness when it became too much.
Trisha and Brian were kept alive, year after year, only to be tortured. Both have given up begging for death years ago, resigning themselves for a seeming eternity of experiencing nothing but the worst pain.
But the satisfaction Crawford would usually feel watching these real-time feeds were overcome by distraction and anger. "What is that ignorant motherfucker doing?"
"I-I-I dunno," a scared subservient replied.
"I want to see Pat at once."
Patricia Crawford was bound and gagged in a cell. Her frail 82-year old frame was cast permanently in this position, as Crawford feared Patricia would kill herself if left to her own devices. Patricia had never once attempted to commit suicide; that fact notwithstanding, Crawford feared that his love of penis and his physical similarity between his Navy-bound grandfather would cause Patricia to be suicidal.
Crawford approached the dark, moldy cell, standing along side the armed caravan. Patricia winced when she saw her son. She knew Crawford to be a kind man, and generous man, and an intelligent man, until he succumbed to severe mental illness. But things took a turn for the worst when Crawford was successful in solving the software problem.
"Mom. I want answers Mom." Crawford's now-obese frame imposed over the frailty of the elderly lady. His henchmen were ungagging Patricia so she could answer.
"I don't know anything." Her voice was weak from age, malnutrition, and not having moved for the past 10 years.
She didn't, in fact, know anything. She didn't know why Michael was talking to her to begin with, and she wouldn't know the answer to his questions, which were undoubtedly rooted in deeply delusional thinking.
"I want to know why you are helping my enemies Mom. You've never been on my side, even when I tried to help you by preventing you from committing suicide - get this - not just one time, but 153 times."
"I'm not helping the enemy. I don't even know your enemies. You've killed all of your enemies."
She stated the truth. Shortly after solving the software problem, a special Government-organized inquisition ravaged Silicon Valley and other tech hot-spots in an attempt to find recruiters, or "borkers" as Crawford demeaningly called them.
Most borkers were tortured to some degree, however all except Trisha and Brian were put to an end in relatively short order. They were transported via cattle car on the railroad to a spot just outside Folsom, California - a spot that was near and dear to Crawford's heart - where they were systematically gassed, executed via gunshot, or electrocuted. Mass graves were dug at the western base of the Sierra mountain range, where the charred, suffocated, and bloodied corpses of the group that had wronged him were dumped, left to decay as bugs, maggots and wild life feasted on their remains.
"Mom I'm not going to ask you again!" Crawford had a habit of growing impatient, even before he solved the software problem. He felt knot in the pit of his stomach as adrenaline and methylphenidate whizzed through his veins. "WHY did you help my enemies?"
Pat could see exactly where this was going. She could confess to the crime, which would result in physical harm to her. Or she could deny it again, angering Michael, and would also result in physical harm.
"I... didn't," she spoke softly, dejected as she accepted the inevitable.
Michael turned to his right-hand man, Corporal George Zimmerman. Although they were once arch-nemeses, Michael befriended Zimmerman, as he respected his status as a police officer in the community, shortly after solving the software problem. While Zimmerman was disgusted with mentally ill people in general, he reciprocated friendship, mostly because he greatly and justifiably feared the great tyrant.
Michael let out a sigh, as if he were unhappy with what he was about to do. "You know what to do," he ordered Zimmerman. Corporal Zimmerman nodded and menacingly approached Patricia. Crawford quickly walked away with the rest of his armed security detail towards the elevator. As they waited outside of the jail cell complex for the elevator to arrive, the faint screams of the tattered and bleeding Patricia Crawford could be heard in the distance.
Crawford returned to the top-floor command center. The armed guards that patrolled the command center had changed shifts. A bright eyed, eager-to-please guard was near the main door. "Hi Michael! How's it going!" The cheeriness in his tone was consistent with the grin on his face.
"Mom just got pissed at me because I handed a $20 bill to a homeless man. So I'm having her tortured."
"I'm very sorry to hear that!" the guard replied, still grinning.
Crawford returned to his desk with the panel of monitors. He didn't notice the blood profusely emanating from Trisha's vagina, or the fire-branding torture being performed on Brian's scarred nipples. He was focused on the bottom screen - the screen that had an essay.
Custom software using Spellswell as a linguistic engine showed Crawford's statistics. Over the 12,232 words the composed Crawford's latest ramblings, there were 322 spelling errors and 27 sentences containing "significant" grammatical problems, excluding the 17 sentences that were flagged as "having too many words" (a threshold that was set at 250).
"Perfect," Crawford thought to himself. "It's almost ready."
Crawford finished with a closing paragraph:
It's not that the Software Problem wasn't going to be solved without me - in fact, it would have been. Get this: The same stripper whom I had a intense interpersonal relationship with which the Denny's nearby would often find us conversing and scheming at all sorts of hours with the help of a telephone line that was originally invented by Alexander Graham Bell himself - a line which was carefully constructed using the finest wire at a time and was transported across the country including from Philadelphia to the Bahamas, Los Angeles, and Santa Fe New Mexico, thanks to the Los Alamos laboratory, was also convinced that the Software Problem was a conquest solvable by acknowledging the simple absolute fact that it was a human problem and not a machine problem. The mind simply reels.
Having not re-read or proofread a single phrase in his essay, he hit a large button that simply said "Publish."
"ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO PUBLISH ESSAY? Y/N"
Crawford immediately pushed "Y," anticipating the prompt.
It had been done.
New York City was abuzz with life. Despite having murdered approximately 1,000,000 people in the Borker Holocaust, NYC remained the vibrant economic and cultural center of the United States.
Suddenly, air-raid sirens were emitted from the top of every building. The traffic lights all blinked the special simultaneous red-yellow-green pattern. The subways in the tunnels and the heavy rail above the ground immediately screeched to a halt. The families in the apartments and houses that were watching TV had an Emergency Alert signal as their show's images went blank. Those listening to the radio and in the theatres had similar alerts.
Everyone participated in this ritual several times per week. Those in their homes gathered around their computers to read the essay. Those on the streets, in their cars, or on the rail lines got out their Government-mandated e-reader. They each dutifully read Michael Crawford's wandering and bizarre essay, as required by law. They each knew if they were caught ignoring their important civic duty, or if it was later revealed through inquisition that they were not intimately familiar with every detail of the essay, torture and execution would ensue.
Such is life in Michael David Crawford's post-software problem utopia.