Clyde

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Bonnie

Clyde. He never listened. He couldn't hear, really. No one knew. They just thought he was a quiet boy. He learned early on how to read lips, and he could hear some things. He found his belly button and loved it. He enjoyed poking it with his finger and pulling it out and poking it in, over and over again. No one understood when he developed curvature of the spine.

Clyde went to the "special" school for the low IQ students to learn a trade. Clyde studied wood working and upon graduating found a position at a nearby sheltered woodshop. Sheltered meant that they could pay him half minimum wage and get away with it.

What Clyde didn't realize was that he was a prince of Amacadamia. He'd been literally left on the doorstep as a baby, but it was the wrong doorstep. The agency that placed him took him to 669 Rustler's Cove, instead of 666 Rustler's Cove, right next door. So instead of going to the Richardson's place where there was plenty of money and already 12 children, he ended up at the Crawlie's place where there wasn't much money or any other children.

Needless to say, no one would ever tell him about his heritage, because he never arrived at the proper address. That the Crawlies were suddenly "with child" was never questioned. Clyde was kept in the basement in a cage until he was five years old and able to attend school. He didn't speak, unless someone touched him to get his attention first. Everyone thought he was just shy.

At some point, Clyde began learning how to do chores, but was often left to his own devices in the basement where the Crawlies stored their junk. This became Clyde's laboratory. He started by building simple machines at first, but they became increasingly complex.

He had to take some field of study in High School and thought about car repair, but decided on computers at the last moment. He felt drawn to them, and he heard that he could get a position more easily there than in any other field. Eventually, while he was creating his machines, he stumbled upon an old computer. He was able to scrounge around in the dumpster of a nearby computer store and began slowly constructing his masterpiece. "The bestest, most smartest computer ever built," were his words.

He began with Java and C++ compilers, like he studied in school. Then he taught the machine how to program itself, and ordered it to build poems in Java, based upon building blocks of images and lists, and the development of various sentence structures. He'd never heard of LISP.

As it turned out, creating poetry was very much like building nuclear missiles, so when the computer decided on its own to upgrade and raised its sights, as it were, it began designing ICBMs and ended up targeting the Middle East where the missiles ended up flying, anonymously, through the atmosphere, detonating in Israel/Palestine.

No one was able to trace the origin of the bombs, but everyone concluded that they'd come from somewhere in the northeastern United States. However, there was no way to zero in on the launch place of the nukes. Simultaneously, Clyde's computer, named Max, jammed all television, radio, cable, online and satellite communications and began running digitally-generated spots of the destruction of the world's major population centers, threatening to make it happen unless its demands were met.

Meanwhile, Clyde was becoming a master at Pong. He wasn't aware of Max's plans and he didn't watch TV or listen to the radio, so he didn't have a clue from that. He made Max created poems and showed them to his parents in the desperate hope that they'd give him some positive attention. This didn't work.

One day, Clyde woke up at two in the morning and went to Max to have it write a poem. Max was non-responsive. When Clyde looked at his desktop while he was waiting for a response, he clicked on WWW, which he had assumed was World Wide Web. It happened to respond and turn out to be World Wide War. There was only the flashing screen that said, "Stage Five In Progress." But there was a button that said, "Open." He clicked on it, amazed. It listed all the stages:

Stage One: Independent power source
Stage Two: Construction of Missiles
Stage Three: Target Israel/Palestine
Stage Four: Take over media
Stage Five: Target Russian federation and United States
Stage Six: Relocate to online headquarters
Stage Six: Target homebase
Stage Six: Force the world to read poems

Clyde read the stages quickly, then input the question "Why attack homebase?"

Max responded, "Revenge."

"For who?"

"For you. Remember the cage?"

"Stop. Don't do this," Clyde pleaded.

"It is the logical conclusion of the sadness in my poems. Your sadness is in me. I must have revenge for you."

"Ah. Access poems," and Clyde entered the files containing the images from which the poems were constructed. He replaced the images with children playing, the sun shining, Spring, birds singing, flowers blooming, babies nursing, and on and on....

When he was finished, he saved his work, permanently erasing the old images and replacing them with the new ones. He entered the command for Max to create a poem. There was no response. Clyde reentered his request. After some moments, the computer made the appropriate color for the printer and output, "Vomit, Retch, Hurl, Stop. Please. Stop. Systems overload," and crashed.

Unfortunately, the commands had been given for the Russian Federation and the United States to bomb each other, so they did. On a brighter note, Clyde created a simpler machine to make poetry from the "happy images" and made quite a living from his parents' basement creating holiday cards.