The Spark of Life

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Got Skills.”

I awoke as if I had the worst dream ever. There was a knot or something sitting on the tail end of my spine


“Are you up?” Wendy asked. I was half-awake, but I couldn’t get back to sleep. When I tried to lay down, my lower back flared up.

“Go ahead and take care of the bills, honey.”

I dragged myself to the bathroom. I shook out two

pills from the bottle. I cupped my hands and drank from the faucet. I would take the time to pour from the filtered pitcher, but I didn’t care. Something was sitting on the tail of my spine. There was a jab with every step I took. Eventually, I made it to the study. The leather chair was no help in relieving the pain. I opened my jalopy of a laptop, a Toshiba I had for six years. It ran on its original operating system. No upgrades, no altercations, no cleanings. Over the past few months, it became a chore to start up. But Wendy would not hear a word about purchasing a new one. “They’re too fa

ncy,” she said. “And too expensive.” On that we agreed.

No sooner had I touched the power button, I felt something run up my spine and zipped into my finger. I heard a crackle. The vents spat out sparks.

“No, no, no, no, no. This cannot be happening.”

I pressed the power button rapidly, hoping to resuscitate her one last time. No response. Wendy walked into the study. She saw the puffs of smoke fuming from the laptop.

“What did you do?” she yelled.

“Nothing. I turned the laptop on, and then

this happened.”

“Can you fix it?”

I nodded. There was no chance of saving the old girl. She was down for the count. Wendy stormed off. There was no need for a verbal lashing. I sighed. I hit random keys, not caring what I was pretending to spell. The pain flared up. It was worse than before. I felt electricity surg

e through my arms and to the fingertips. I saw electricity run across the keys, all over the laptop. The crackling was louder. But then, I heard a fan humming. The same kind of humming when I first purchased her. The screen lit up as if I turned her on the first time. It was surreal how fast the computer booted up.

My mouth locked up, opened wide. I blinked my eyes as

if I was in my dream state. She dinged loud and clear, waiting for me to enter commands. I clicked the Google Chrome tab. I blinked for a second, and there it was. All set to browse whatever websites I needed to visit.

“Honey, you need to see this.” I didn’t get an answer. I guessed she went back to sleep. Or she was still upset. I didn’t waste time. I went to cell phone website and paid my bill. After that, I went to the gas and electric site and made a payment. The last stop was a jewelry site. I figure wi

th Wendy’s birthday coming soon, I thought it would be good to look around. After five minutes of browsing, I shut down the laptop and slid it underneath the desk.

I couldn’t believe what just happened. There was no way that happened. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe it was dumb luck. Only one way to find out. I pulled the laptop out and opened it again. I felt the crackle i

n my spine. The pain shot up the back and to the fingertips. The sliver of lightning shot out of my finger to the power button. The sliver became a wave. The computer went through the boot-up process as if she was turned on the first time.

This was no fluke. It couldn’t be.

“What is going on? I smell smoke.”

Wendy’s footsteps pounded the wood floor, each step louder than the last as she approached the study.

“Are you all right?”

“Honestly,” I said, staring at the screen, “I’m no

t sure.”


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