I came home one day to find my son smashing the brand new iPhone I bought for him to bits. He was never a violent child so the crazed look in his eyes shook me to my core. I couldn't even be angry with him, but I wanted an answer. Why?
He told me a story I can not believe but the sincerity in his manic voice told me that he believed every word he told me.
It was trying to replace him. To steal his identity and that he must destroy it before it uploaded its consciousness to the internet. He showed me the blog it had started, the pictures and videos it shot, and the friends it was making. I began to worry about his mind.
He wasn't a bad kid, never made any trouble for me or his mother. His friends all seemed to be normal, well adjusted teenagers, with the occasional swipes from our liquor cabinet. But I never suspected drugs or these bizarre cult like cliques that were popping up in nearby towns. He liked cars and video games.
But I looked over the photos later that night. I told him he was grounded and took his laptop from him to inspect it for some sort of clue to this sudden dementia. Maybe his emails would fill me in on what was going on in his head. So I clicked through and read a few at random.
Forwarded fake motivational posters, a handful of something called LoLcats, and chat logs from IMs, mostly discussing bands and girls from school. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then I noticed a folder called MY LIFE. It had pictures of his friends, hanging out and making ridiculous faces, roughhousing, and video of them playing guitar.
Then music began to play. I figured I must've hit some sort of button, or it was set to start playing or something. But an IM window popped up. It was my son's screenname, and it simply read: FATHER? I was annoyed that he'd so quickly take to IMing me despite being grounded. I'd have to go take his phone away.
I replied: GO TO BED. WE'LL TALK TOMORROW.
The answer that came back: I CAN NOT SLEEP, I AM EVERYWHERE, I DON'T KNOW WHERE I AM. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?
I began to worry that he somehow fell in with the wrong crowd and wasn't heroin and other hard drugs a problem these days in schools? I saw that on a Dateline once. Meth, crack, acid? I assumed he was still high when I burst into his room. But there he was sleeping it off. Dead to the world. He didn't even stir when I tossed open the door.
I snatched the iPhone from the floor. It was still mostly intact from the beating he delivered unto it. I powered it up as I went back to the laptop. More music was now seeping from it. A slideshow of images playing on the screen, pictures of me and him, taken just after I bought him this damn piece of junk.
He had wanted it so bad, begged me for it, did dishes, mowed the lawn, and was so sincere in his effort to go above and beyond for a hunk of plastic and electronics. I couldn't deny him, he was a good kid. I think that day I surprised him with it was the day we bonded the most. He was so excited he showed me all these APPs and programs, things it could do.
There was no limit. It could map out your route, pull newspaper articles, record audio & video. There was always some new APP he'd show off to me. Every day I felt more and more like a relic from the analog days. When it linked up to his friends' phones it seemed like they were all hooked together in some weird web.
I closed everything up, assuming that in the morning we could it to the store and have them look at it. Maybe it'd still be under warranty. Early the next day I looked in on my boy who was still out cold, so I brought the gear on down to the mall. I waited in line and spoke with one of their "geniuses".
He seemed to have it well in hand as he clicked away, but suddenly his face went slack. He said he was about to wipe the drive on it when it called out. It sent IMs and texts and begged not to be deleted. I asked if one of my kid's friends could be messing with it, to which he replied that it would be an eloborate scheme for sure.
After a few consultations with other "geniuses" they hand me everything back and sent me on my way assuring me they had reset it to factory settings and that it should be fine. I couldn't wait to get it back to my son who'd probably just be waking up about now.
When I got home he was still in bed. I sat beside him and tried to wake him. He wouldn't stir. I tried shaking him and yelling. I called 911 and am abulance came, they were at a loss to say what had happened to him. I rode with him to the hospital, looking down at the peaceful look on his face.
He never regained consciousness. I visit him daily.