Activities of Paranoid Computer Scientists
Glancing both ways he made sure that They were not after him. He took route 15 home
through the city. He hoped tho throw Them off by using the same route twice in two days. What
would he use tomorrow? Seven? Maybe. Maybe he would come up with a new one. No, that
wouldn't work, H wouldn't know his surroundings. Seven. That's what he'd use. He saw Them to theeft and ducked into an alley way. He hid behind a cardboard box (That might have been a home not
to long ago), and waited until They were gone.
He had no idea why They were after him, well maybe an idea, but They were after him. It
wasn't paranoia. He hoped anyway. No one could be this paranoid, especially in a city, it would
drive them mad. He wasn't mad. After ten minutes he hoped they were gone because the smell of
urine on the ground started to burn his nostrils. He felt his safest bet was to be on the streets wre
someone couldn't be dragged away in daylight.
The sun was a stark contrast to the darkness of the rat maze alleyways. He felt safe for the
moment, a feeling that didn't come often to him. For as long as he could remember they had been aftehim. They wanted him even more now that he was making their trailing job difficult.. He felt a panof hunger and stopped at a hot dog stand.
"What'll it be buddy," asked the fat bald vendor with a scrubby two days growth on his face.
He rubbed his bald head so as to make sure it was still there, and waited for an order.
"Uh, give me a dog with kraut and mustard."
"Regular or jumbo?"
He no longer felt safe as he felt them coming up all around him. He started to wish that he
hadn't left his gun at home. He couldn't see them now but if he had his gun he could have just firea
shot or three and the ones with the damned uniformly grey suites, and Ray Bans that still walked
would be his persurers. Or the women. Those women. He thought that women were supposed to be
nurturing and loving, but the ones that came after him were cold... dark... and evil, in those grey
business skirts, and the Ray Bans. "I don't care."
"Look buddy I need to know so I can charge you the right amount."
"I don't care, give me whatever." He looked over his left then his right shoulder. He thoughte could see a few of them in the bustle of the city streets.
"Hey pal, how hard is it to say 'jumbo' or 'regular'?"
He didn't have time to play games any more. He grabbed the vendor by the shirt and pulled
him close. "Look fat man," he breathed. "Give me what ever the hell you want to, I really don't
"Jumbo it is!" The Vendor hurriedly placed heaps of kraut on top of the wiener and asked,
"You want a soda to wash that down."
"Buck twenty five then."
He pulled out two dollars and gave it to him with out taking the change. The fat man didn't
bother to call after him. ""What a nut," he mumbled as he stroked his head.
He ate his dog faster than he should have and ended up coughing up a piece he didn't chew
well enough. The distractions were getting to him. Each time They got closer, soon They would be
right behind him with a gun pointed at. "We are going to think this through," he mumbled to himself
He gave up thinking that talking to himself was the mark of a crazy man a long time ago. He still
wondered if talking in third person was healthy. Anyway, he did it, and he wasn't mad. He knew thenswer and repeated it to himself out loud. "NO, No, no." He also knew it wasn't a for of affirmato.
He wasn't convincing himself of something, he was honestly no mad. If he was it was because of
Them. People looked at him when he talked to himself as they looked at any bum that talked, but head a secret, he wasn't crazy unlike the rest. He wasn't a bum either, but he wasn't mad. He waspranoid, cautiously paranoid. "Why are they after him?" He wondered aloud. "He didn't do
anything." He could think of only a few reasons that he might be wanted. They were all equally
important in his mind; bad credit, overdue on the gas bill, witnessed a murder in the alley beside s
building, ran a red light a couple years back, or xeroxing the ten dollar bill. He had a feeling at it
was the red light though. He did it fifteen years ago at Three AM. When he did it he told himself hat
he was going to hell. " I am, I know it. It says so in the Bible somewhere.
He had all of the reasons justified too. He knew that people would do it all of the time if th
didn't have some way of keeping the people in line. It made him shiver. It was the Government, he
knew. He didn't like to say just, "The Government," because it is such a large body that not all cod
be out to get him. Not the IRS for example. He had paid his taxes on time. He had a feeling thathen the Soviet Union broke up the U.S. recruited the secret police to harass and take care of
government annoyances. Before the Soviets They used the German Gestapo, but They became rusty,
that's why only lately the paranoia became worse.
He breathed deeply. He needed to slow down. His mind was racing. He glanced around, and
for the first time, in a long time, They were not around. He sat down on the park bench wary that
They might reappear any moment, and finished his hot dog. As his thoughts slowed down they
became more normal. He thought that he should go back to the vendor and get his seventy-five centsand with that buy a soda. He wondered what was on television, and wondered what time "Mama's
Family" was on and was amazed by the fact that it was still on. He noticed that he had spread out othe bench and that a man wanted to sit down. Happily he moved his things over and continued
thinking. Maybe he could get a book and read in the park, or he could go to a pool and swim, or heould just sit right there and absorb the sun. He listened to the sound of the hustle and bustle ofte
city and smiled.
The smile felt good. he noticed that the muscles in his face weren't used enough for smilingnd that he should really do it more often. He continued until he felt something hard pressing agant
his lower back. His new found peace was shattered. Everything turned dark again, and he could seeThem everywhere. He turned around and saw that it was a gun poking him. His pants leg felt warm
as he peed himself. A white van pulled up to the curb, and the door slid open. The man sitting nexto
him jerked him up and pushed him in the van. "You shouldn't run red light's comrade. We see
"Are you going to kill me?"
"Nyet comrade, you would only wish it."
The door slid shut.X-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
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