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[The following is the transcription of a series of texts received in the Chicago area between 17–23 December 2017. Local authorities proved unable to trace them to their source, and save for a few souls who managed to hold onto them (of which, unfortunately, I am one) they have been deleted or locked away.

The original posts included a link at the end to the service described. Given the events of the ‘story’, I have removed it from this recreation.]

There it was. That damned noise, the warbling ‘bloop’ like a rubber ball had fallen into a pool and somehow bounced while sinking.

Quick motions, practiced ones, brought me to the email. Again from dad, again about how we don’t get to see each other since I left college and all the fun we’ll have when I finally pay my way back home.

Wait, no. This was different. Joyful. Optimistic. Unlike him in every way.

Hey!
I know what you said about emailing you more than once a day (guess I’m finally getting old; hee hee hee!), but I’m just writing to tell you that there’s nothing we need to worry about anymore. Maybe I’ll get mom in on this! Have fun with that girl from the bar; she seemed a real cutie!
I’ll be seeing you!
Love,
Dad

What was that? Not the only thing different, that’s what. There, down in the corner: a logo.

Blacpnt.

What the hell was that? Dark letters, rounded curves, splashes of some rust and red on everything. Weird. But nothing, probably nothing. New address, too, with blacpnt.com instead of the caveman’s Yahoo. Had to be nothing.

Why did he mention mom…?

There, at the corner. A black flash. A stain of that rust and red across the screen. Like a face. Gaunt. Eyes looking for miles. Gone, now, but it was there. I know it was. Then where did it go?

I’d wait five minutes to see if the antivirus closet needed ransacking. In the meantime, needed to relax. Let’s retreat into the safety of the exposed woman’s breast. Does wonders countering whatever that man brings with him, erasing the weird thoughts and memories just under the skimmy surface.

There it was, that damned bubble noise! I switched to email again.

Hey!
Now is that the way that your mother and I raised you? Come on, son, you’re better than : this! You’ll make that girl cry! You’re lucky that you won’t have to be alone your whole life, : because you’re on the road straight towards it.
But I still love you,
Dad

Alright, nope. I hit the internet and searched twice: antivirus and Blacpnt. Search one was a regular array. Search two? Some crap about Goya and all sorts of skeevy forums full up with nonsense. Meh, but it wouldn’t hurt.

They told me it was Spanish-run, but the whole thing was in perfect English. I changed the computer’s language setting to Algerian. A 100%, crystal-clear, translation.

Here I heard the gov used it back in the day to track, you know, ‘undesirables’.

Anyone keep getting stuff about Goya?

Came up when I was hunting for some new hearing aids…

Just goes to show you that you can’t trust a free service for shit.

Please, please please don’t use it. Don’t let your parents use it, kids. Don’t let your kids use it, parents. Please.

He was on the walls he was in the walls he was the walls

You guys start seeing all those colors in your sleep?

The warble again.

Hey!
Don’t worry about Blacpnt. I promise you that it’s a legitimate service.
Love,

Dad

Dad,
I’m sorry I haven’t contacted you lately.
Where did you find this thing? Seems a bit pervasive to me, and I’m not comfortable with that. If you can remove it, I would greatly appreciate it.
Hey!
You finally responded; I’m so glad! Your mother always looked forward to your letters. Said they were the one way you could really express yourself…

I found this thing while I was looking for some old peoples’ help services and things. With you and everyone else gone, I figured I could use some help with all this tech stuff (but maybe not; you’re actually answering my messages now, after all!) and then I found this link that I told me I didn’t have to be disconnected from anything ever again! Sounds great, right?

There’s apparently an option to “perfectly connect”, or something like that, but so long as you keep contacting me… :B. That’s how you do that ‘tongue-out’ thing, right?

Keep on talking, son!

Love,

Dad

Downloading the antivirus felt like a small eternity. Running it was a bit better.

Then: schizophrenia. Colors, black, rust, red, mixed, everything running along the screen like fingers dragging it down a board. The low whine of refusing to load. I hit that escape key, hit it long and good. The bar was at five more minutes. Just five and then I would be-

That. Damn. Noise! But where?

The TV, my phone, both at the same time. Flashes of red and rust like a rogue paintbrush.

Hey!
Why haven’t you replied? I’ve been waiting for something… well, thanks to Blacpnt I can follow anyway! You sly dog, you, trying to get away from your old man. Well, it doesn’t matter yet. Just get some good sleep, and good luck on that job interview tomorrow morning! I’ve sent some helpful things there, and you might want to iron that jacket again; that model of yours is the kind that always took me a few tries to get the job done with. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Love,

Dad

What was I supposed to do?

Hey!
You might want to have that nozzle fixed: taking short bursts of hot water damages the skin. Your mother always said you were handsome; we don’t want to ruin that, do we? Maybe you should check out that pimple too; there’s a few dermatologists downtown, and I think one of them might just be my little guy’s type! Did you like the shampoo? It’s great, isn’t it?
Love,

Dad

He was trying so hard.

Hey!
Don’t make me shake you awake, young man! I still have the old bucket of water handy!
Love,

Dad

It reminded me so much...

Hey!
Don’t put on your underwear like that! Here, I’ll send you a link through Blacpnt. That should show you how to do it properly; you’ve got to hook the thumbs just right. It’s funny; I can’t even remember the last time I turned this darn computer off. Your problems are just too much of mine, now. Hee hee hee!
Love,

Dad

Hey!
That son of a bitch. No one ought to drive like that! Back in Toronto we would’ve ridden him off the road and given him a good tar and feathering.
Love,

Dad

I couldn’t bring myself to...

Hey!
Tell him that you’re a good innovator; I told him that at my last application and they just ate it up!
Love,

Dad

He just wanted to help.

Hey!
Congratulations! Go get yourself something to eat to celebrate; maybe at the bar!
Love,

Dad

He was my dad, right?

Hey!
Is that how kids kiss these days? Watch your manners and watch your hands! You’re dealing with a lady!
Love,

Dad

No. This is my life. Mine. No one else’s.

But...

Hey!
Careful, careful… you don’t want to hurt her! The key’s to do it gently but with firm force, you know. That’s what your grandad taught me, at least.
Son?
Are you even listening? Blacpnt keeps telling me that you’ve turned off everything in the house. Why would you do that? Do you want to keep hurting your old man? Do you want to leave me behind? Of course you don’t. No, of course you don’t.
I’m sorry. After your mother… after your sister… I want to be close. I want to know you. I think I wanted… want… to be you, a little. Everything’s going away and I can start over. I can take you in. It says I can. It knows I can. Please, son, let me have this. Let me have this, son!
I do it because I love you. All because I love you.
You can’t,

Dad

BLACPNT NOTIFICATION: As of this moment you are officially under our Perfect Closeness Package, designed specifically to bring families closer together!

He was in the walls. He was in the windows. He was in the floor. Every light was through his black and rust and red-tinged body.

Everywhere I went: dad.

Everything I did: dad.

Everything I saw: dad.

And slowly it grew. The greys, the ochre, the black and the bloody red all mixing together and becoming my life. Was there even a door anymore?

At night I felt his gentle caresses. In the morning? Ice cold stabs. He became the air and I breathed him in. There was no home to go back to because he was home and everything in it.

My dad. My father. My lord, my guilt, and maybe, now... my god.

And now… and now I reach out. The one last time before that damn noise becomes anthem. Before what’s left of me is swallowed up.

Because he loves me.

He did it because he loved me.

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