Sunday, July 31, 2011

Going Viral

The writing deadline crept up on me quicker than I thought, so Going Viral ended up not being done. 1400 words out of maybe 2000. We'll see. Read and give me an opinion.

Going Viral

Finn had sworn he would never be in New York in July. 104 fucking degrees, and enough humidity to make the air tighten around his head like a vice. He had a throbbing heat headache to go with his stomach ache, and he was on a nice mix of Modafinil E, Seroquel, Enki inhibitors and Advil. He hadn't slept since he got to the city.
For four days Finn just drifted around. He rode the subway for hours and hours and walked aimlessly through the Village, down streets lined with trees and tattoo parlors. Drank shit coffee in small diners and ate falafel from Turkish street vendors. The Enki virus made his stomach churn despite the inhibitors, but he needed sustenance.
He bought a prepaid phone to replace the iPhone he had slipped into the pocket of a truck driver outside Boston, and a .357 Smith & Wesson from a pawn shop in Brooklyn. Finn didn’t know jack about handguns, but the revolver appealed to him in a vaguely Dirty Harry kind of way, and he did need protection.
There was no direct evidence that LookingGlass were closing in, but he knew it was only a matter of time. They wanted the virus and would stop at nothing to get it back from him. The morons thought he simply carried it around.
Phelps, the director of LookingGlass' security division, was ex-NSA and Finn was certain he still had friends there. Echelon, KH-12 satellites and God knew what else Phelps could get access to would have found him in hours if he hadn't taken precautions.
The store was on 44th Street. ”Internet access inside” a sign over the door said in failing neon letters, ”1 hour photo” next to it. Inside was a cramped space filled with I heart NY tshirts, bags of M&M and racks of cheap cigarettes. In the back on a table sat two aging PCs held together with duct tape and prayers, surrounded by a labyrinth of cables, empty coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays. Finn never saw anyone else use them.
”Hello, boss,” the Persian proprietor always said as Finn walked in. He called everyone boss and smoked constantly.
Finn went to the store every night to check his email. He went through two different anonymizing services and a desktop machine he had set up years ago, hidden in a abandoned warehouse in downtown Boston, leeching off a wide open WiFi connection in a nearby hotel. Paranoia had been his close friends for years. The Seroquel helped.
One email a day from Connor, his supervisor at LookingGlass, and one from Patterson, the company shrink. Finn always deleted them without opening them. The first day there had been a panicked message from his ex-wife Mary, after LookingGlass goons posing as FBI agents had searched her house on a fake warrant, but since then nothing.
The fourth day Finn needed to sleep, however reluctantly, and took a room at the Y, paying in cash. He tried to go to the bathroom, but nothing came out. The virus ate whatever he put in him. He lay down on the bed, fully clothed, the revolver on the nightstand, and set his alarm for six hours. Sleep, and then it was time to leave New York. Keep moving.

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