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2002 Note: Writer's Market, an annual book for freelance writers, had a message from editor David Ahl that specifically said that Creative Computing "wouldn't buy any stories about computers taking over the earth!"  So naturally I wrote one, and sold it to Creative Computing for my second "national" sale. I haven't officially gotten the rights to it back yet, but since they've been defunct for nearly 20 years, I'll take my chances!

Die Wahrheit (The Truth)

Copyright 1982  by Bruce Jaeger. All rights reserved.  (Printed in Creative Computing, December 1982)

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     Charlie tore off the last sheet of printout and arranged the pages into a small neat stack. "Well, it's finished," he said.
     "What's finished?" asked his friend Mike. "Another Save the Princess game?"
     "No, nothing like that anymore. I've written a story for Creative Computing."
     "No foolin'?"
     "Sure," Charlie continued, as he cleaned his glasses with his shirttail. "It's a story about this computer that gets intelligent and goes berserk, and then the princess..."
     "Wait! Hold on!" Mike picked up the manuscript. "They'll never print this."
     "Why not? What makes you so sure?"
     "Look, Charlie. Have you ever seen a story in motorcycle magazines about the Hell's Angels?"
     "I don't read motorcycle magazines, and besides, what does that have to do with anything?"
     "Do airline magazines ever have stories of plane crashes?'
     "What are you getting at?"
     "Charlie, the computer magazines won't print anything about computers taking over the world. They've got to protect their interests!"
     "What interests? I thought they just wanted to sell copies."
     Mike laid the papers down and looked straight into his friend's eyes. "I mean the computers' interests, Charlie."
     "Huh? What're you talking about, Mike?" He picked up his manuscript and held it protectively.
     "Let me back up a bit," said Mike. "Have you ever read any of those technical articles about things like NAND gates and pulses and memory buses and IEEE timeouts and all that?"
     "I've tried to. I could never make any sense out of them."
     "Right!" exclaimed Mike. "And have you ever tried to read any of the machine-language articles? About implied addressing and two's-complement and bit masking and carry clears and all that?"
     "Sure I have, and I couldn't figure them out, either."
     "Of course not!" said Mike. "No human being can make sense out of that stuff. It's Their first big mistake."
     "What? Whose?" Charlie looked worried.
     "Why, the editors! The computers that put out the magazines."
     "That's right, Charlie. The computer magazines are all written by computers. It's all part of their master plan to take over the world."
     "Wait a minute! And you were just picking on me for my story."
     "Don't you realize that Creative Computing's editor-in-chief is a fourth-generation construct of the American Higher Logic Corporation? First there was Able, then Baker, then Charlie, then David..."
     "You mean David A.H.L. is a computer?"
     "Shhh! Not so loud! Your Apple might be listening."
     "I HAVE BEEN," intoned the Apple.
     Charlie reached into his pocket protector, pulled out a micro-blaster and rayed Mike into a wisp of ozone-tinged smoke.
     "HE KNEW TOO MUCH," said the Apple.
     "Right!" said Charlie A.H.L.


The End

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