A glitch in the Matrix!

It’s just a regular cliched sunrise in the very stereotypic Cosmopolis, Ficta City. Choppers flying, planes landing, and cars, well they’re stuck in a jam, of course! In the apartment that looks like every other City-ish apartment, our lead character wakes up and turns the ringing alarm off. He yawns mechanically and rushes to the loo while you have to stare at the door for forty seconds. Then he comes out in a towel, walks toward the wardrobe and browses through his clothes without moving his hands. His skin shines like polished ceramics, and he is unbelievably muscular, like seriously ripped! Surprisingly, he has no hair, and it looks like he never had any body-hair. Oh yeah, he also has no nipples! Twenty seconds of gazing and he spins around with magical waves turning with him, magic! He’s all dressed and is even wearing his shoes. Mechanically walking out of his apartment he runs into other ceramic beings greeting him with a plastic smile. 

The next minute he’s in his car and yeah, stuck in a jam! But he’s smiling. He’s turning his radio channels and listening to songs and moving rhythmically to every tune. It’s almost like he knows all the songs and the beats of them. He looks so self-aware, and he smiles as if he knows everything about his world.

He gets into his office and greets everyone from the security, to his boss, literally everyone who crosses his path is greeted, and they greet him back. It looks like a ritual. The exact same smile and the precise delivery of the greeting dialogue for everyone he runs into. Even the length of his lips being widened with his smile is the same. After a series of monotonous “Good Morning, have a beautiful day”s, he finally found his cabin and sat down staring at his pixellated computer. He started typing randomly, and he takes a ten seconds pause, he puts his finger on his lips, like he is thinking something and then starts typing again. Right after thirty seconds of this keyboard spanking he pauses and puts the same pose of thinking, and it goes on while people start roaming ten times faster and the day changes to night in a hyper time-lapse.

After the time-lapse had finished and everyone starts leaving the office, he goes too. They all look like carefully placed racially diverse characters. He walked into a coffee-shop named, Sunstruck. “Coffee” he said unnaturally, and the waitress served him by giving him the coffee magically in thin air. “You name, sir?” she asked. “Kenny#4018” he said, and the waiter smiled like he said nothing out of the ordinary. He sat on a table and was sipping his hot coffee like it was just water. 

A man rushed inside, and Kenny#4018 looked at the door. The man was holding a shotgun, and was wearing a thong and nothing else! The thong had a country flag on it. Kenny turned back and started enjoying the coffee, like what’s surprising when a man walks into a coffee shop wearing a thong and holding a shotgun? Just like every other day, mate! The waitress suddenly yelled, but no one in the coffee shop was looking at her. Kenny turned towards the waitress, casually, not because of the yell. The very instant, the stranger with a gun, shot the waitress right in the head. Kenny yelled, all the other customers too, they ran out throwing their coffee cups, they all rushed out of the cafe. They didn’t stop; they ran continuously for two hundred meters, and then they stopped. Something happened like they forgot they just saw a murder. They started walking towards the parking lot and were getting in their vehicles, turning the radio on, going back to homeā€”just a typical day in Ficta City.

Kenny went inside his apartment, lied on his bed and voila! It’s morning again. The very same cliched sunrise, planes, choppers, and yeah cars in a jam! The very plastic smiles and the very ceramic bodies. Something’s changed though, Kenny had to take a long way to his office because a person in an alien costume exploded the bridge and everyone has to reroute. Kenny was rhythmically moving for the music. A very long route, so more music! 

Out of nowhere, a naked man started running on the street and Kenny couldn’t hit the brakes. Kenny dashed him so hard that the naked man flew for a few tens of meters and hit the road, his blood was all over. Kenny got down, and his heart was thumping. Everyone else raced their cars, the police are on their way, but Kenny was shocked and was looking at the body. The cops asked Kenny nothing, and right before them, the body vanished, but the blood remained. Cops got into their cars and started going away. Kenny didn’t understand anything, and it was like nothing happened. He went back to his office, followed by monotonous greetings, and he sat in front of his computer.

The keyboard-spanking had begun, but the pauses took between spanking had started to grow. It felt like he was genuinely thinking about something. There was nothing about the death in any radio, news or the web. “Is it my delusion? A mere mirage?” Kenny thought. He turned his computer off and started leaving as it was night already. “It was just a dream, Kenny#4018” said to himself and walked to his car. He raced towards the point where the accident had taken place, instead of going for coffee like every day. He parked his car and walked to the point where the body fell. There was no blood, no sign of his car tires. “Mirage! A fucking daylight dream!” he thought and went back to the coffee shop. Everything back to the loop!

The waitress, not dead, served Kenny his coffee from thin air just like yesterday. The same people that were present in that cafe were present today too. No one is creeped out by the fact that the waitress is still alive without even a scratch on the head. Kenny was sipping his coffee and turned towards the waitress casually to give a plastic smile. But besides the waitress was a glassdoor. Kenny saw a reflection of a man who was walking on the road. He was blown out! “This reflection, it can’t be” Kenny thought and rushed out. He saw the man for himself, and he was shocked. “I saw you” Kenny asked the man. The man turned back, and he was dressed in a suit this time. It was odd suit, though. It definitely is customised; it has all the colors of rainbow on it. No-one ordinary would wear or get to grab such piece; it looked premium. This stranger’s lips did not move, but Kenny heard “What the fuck dude! This NPC is talking to me!” from the stranger. Kenny freaked out. “How are you talking without moving your lips? Is this my delusion again?” Kenny yelled out. “Holy fuck dude! This NPC is woke or something. Some serious Westworld shit is happening out here!” the stranger talked again, and again without moving his lips. “Man, I’m waiting for you, come soon” another voice spoke, and Kenny was shaking. “I hear voices! Something is wrong with me!” he yelled and ran away. It followed heavy laughter of the stranger, creepily.

*video paused*

Robert: What the fuck was that?

Richard: It’s just a fucking glitch, Bob! Chill out!

Robert: This video was on youtube, the player recorded it and uploaded it on his channel, it has over a billion views, Richie, and you tell me to take a chill pill?

Richard: I understand you. Look at the positive side. More copies of the game will be sold because of this.

Robert: But why did the random character spoke with a player?

Richard: Look, Bob, they are called NPCs for a reason. ‘Non Playable characters!’ They have a specific story, and they have limited choices. They can’t even choose their own outfits.

Robert: They are sharing memes of Matrix, Truman Show and Westworld. They think this character has gained consciousness and will now take over the game. It is annoying.

Richard: You have seen the clippings of his life right? Look, the NPCs are coded with limited memory. They forget things in seconds, that’s how they ignore the brutal murders these players commit. They don’t remember that they have seen brains of their own people lying in front of them. They are just a piece of code. Do you know what Kenny#4018 is doing now?

*video forward* *play*

It’s just another cliched sunrise, 12 game-days after Kenny#4018 spoke to a player. The planes are flying, choppers and the cars, well they are stuc..

*video paused*

Richard: The game is back to normal. Kenny#4018’s memory was not automatically wiped, and he somehow remembered 25Kb of data, the image of a player dying. It’s purely a glitch. And if we told players that we deliberately did this! That we are updating our NPCs and making them more interactive. The sales will increase, Bob! You see, this Kenny#4018 is a precious NPC, with him interacting with a player, we can now see what players want in the game. They loved the interaction. They want more interaction, Bob! We should be working on our next update, that is, the interactive NPCs.

*Robert Laughing*

Robert: Don’t you think they would rebel? Break out?

Richard: Break out of what? The VR boxes? This Kenny#4018, he’s just a glitch in the matrix.

*Richard laughs*

*video paused for long time, 10 seconds to go to the screensaver*

Still-frame of Kenny#4018 with a plastic smile on his face, froze looking at the sunrise through his window.

Published by

Manoj Sri Harsha

A filmmaker who's also a philosopher and I have always been a writer. My urge to tell stories have provoked and boosted me to write my thoughts out as words, sentences and essays! I treat storytelling objectively and would always try new things to tell any story in a different way. Big fan of the Avant-garde!

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