Agent Smith-246

by Vicente A. Roses

"Agent Smith-246, come to my office," commanded Agent One.

His whispering voice made him feel very nervous. After doubting for a second, Smith-246 dared to say, "According to the rules we shouldn't hold..."

"Hurry up! I hate waiting! " snapped Agent One, and hung up.

Smith-246 rushed out from his room and ran along the corridor to take one of elevators in their skyscraper, which housed The Global United Corporations headquarters.

While the elevator speeded up to the top floor, he couldn't avoid feeling uneasy about the prospect of his first face-to-face interview with One.

The elevator rose up through the endless number of floors that made up the Department of Net-Watching; this department had steadily grown since any conversation or communication about politics was completely banned in order to stop cyber-rioters from inciting to break the law, disproving the official truth or debunking the reputation of the Board of Directors.

According to that Board, some cyber-dissidents were mixed with the ever-loyal citizens, but they communicated their subversive ideas in a subtler way; this is the reason why all communications were to be monitored, looking for any idea or expression that didn't match the cultural level, personal interests or routine of the speakers. This task was enforced by Net watchers.

When Smith-246 entered One's office he found a hunchbacked old man in an over-the-top leather armchair. One invited him to take a seat on a squeaky and off balance stool in front of his table.

"I told you to come because you are one of the best Net watchers and have uncovered some hidden signals in many videos on the Net," said One. "That helped us stop some riots and rebellions"

"Thanks a lot, but in some cases it was too late," answered Smith-246 shyly.

"Yes, but all of them were doomed to fail and I have to admit that they were very useful to separate the wheat from the chaff," One said. "Tell me if you have found some suspicious videos recently."

"Well, I've looked over the top videos of the week with millions of views and I have narrowed them to only two," said Smith-246 stammering. "The first is from a gossip program where a guest spoke his mind too cleverly and the second is about a weird group of children playing in an outdoor playground which is quite unusual."

"Both sound quite promising," interrupted One. "But, start by describing the second and get to the point."

"The scene in the video is like a picture that brings back memories from a distant past; it is set in a northern town covered with snow; there are some toddlers in a children's playground with their mothers chatting in the background, who gave birth at the same hospital on the same day; the children were running around after each other, messing around with the snow and giggling all the time."

"Very interesting," chuckled One.

"Suddenly, they stopped to shout with their arms up: 'The day of the Daffsttand is coming!' " continued Smith-246.

"What does it mean? It sounds like a word from a dead Central European language."

"Actually, it means nothing, I've found out a tiny shop with this name in their town, specialized in wooden toys; his owner has the same last name, but we should look into it more thoroughly. There must be something behind this strange word pronounced by children so small."

"It doesn't seem to be a looming threat," said One sarcastically. "You'd better focus on the gossip program and its unexpectedly witty guest and keep me informed."

No sooner had Smith-246 left the office than One took out a plain old phone from a drawer and made a call to the Linguistics Department Manager.

"Hi, dude, I have something for you: a new word for The Dictionary of Dead Languages," said One, "and make it get around on the Net as fast as possible."

"I'm all ears..." said the Manager.

The day of children's birthday, some peaceful demonstrations started worldwide against the price of the subscription of the World Cup Final on the sports channels. But, soon, they got out of hand and turned into violent riots in the major cities; some Net nodes were set on fire; the rest got overloaded and collapsed one after the other: there was a global blackout.

Suddenly, everybody was cut off.

One day later, Agent Smith-246 was lying around in his room and that unknown isolation started to get him down. Thus, He decided to start writing a diary in a squared-paper, spiral-bound notebook:

I need to buy some food, but what I'm really anxious to do is to find out some fresh news. I will make the effort to go to the crappy corner grocer's. Its owner is an old chatterbox; so, now, she must know what is going on.

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