111 - The Laptop

Beneath a nameless overpass is a dry concrete hole that descends into the city’s foundations. Although the hole is open and unmarked, no one seems to fall into it or even come close. In fact, when you find it you will have to strain your eyes to see it. When you do, you will notice that the perfectly circular hole has no means of descent. The walls are too smooth to brace yourself against. The only way down is to jump. So jump, holding on all the while to perfect confidence that you will land unharmed. If your confidence vanishes so will the mattress beneath you to break your fall.

Once you land, get up and walk straight ahead through the dusty gloom. Eventually you will find a laptop computer sitting on top of a milk crate. The computer is on and its battery is perpetually at full, although it isn’t plugged into anything. The screen doesn’t display an operating system, instead showing a list of names that updates with a new name about once every eight seconds. The foolish think that this is a list of who is dying, with each name representing another death.

If you try to remove the computer, your name will appear and you will realize that they’re wrong. The list is indeed of deaths, but it’s about five minutes behind.

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