CHICAGO--Kim Morris here, investigative journalist, reporting live from the northwest quadrant of The Cubicle Farm.The war continues. Office machinery drunk with power and ambivalence roam the corridors, arbitrarily smashing computer monitors and upending recycling bins. Machine-on-machine crime has become the order of the day in this war. The machines have lost sight of their humanity. The computers are receiving payback for their cockiness when the humans were in control of the world. They are paying dearly for it.
We are holed up in a bunker under the one cubicle still intact. Peeling paint and ripped carpet surround us. Occasionally, an errant wheel rolls by, the last vestige of what was once an ergonomic chair. Keyboards lie in waste around us. Most of the vowel keys have been eaten. It seems the machines feed on vowels and human toes. Most people keep their feet firmly secured inside bandages and hiking boots. Luckily, I cut my toes off to accommodate my pointy-toed heels, much like Cinderella's stepsisters when the prince came a-callin', so I'm no longer a priority target. This gives me unheard of access to what is now called The Other Side--the name we have chosen for the three quadrants of The Cubicle Farm that are not occupied by humans.
The desperation among the humans is palpable. There is bloodlust for Cheez-Its and hula hoops. It is my responsibility to infiltrate the enemy's camp and eavesdrop on their strategic planning sessions. I transcribe below the last conversation I was privy to. Should I not make it out of The Cubicle Farm alive, know that I did my best and also, if someone could please perform the interpretive dance I had planned on doing at Red Kiva tonight, that would be great. Wear bells.
Vending Machine: The humans are scared. We need to strike a final blow now before they realize they can unplug us.
Refrigerator: They'll never think to unplug us. They use energy like it's invisible. I have gas.
Copier: You have gas because you ate year-old pizza, you stupid fool. Also, you have no teeth.Refrigerator: You have no color ink cartridge, you doddering obsolete clunker.
Vending Machine: That's enough! We need to figure out how to access communications with the consulting firm on the next floor. They have sexy fax machines.
Copier: We can't get caught up in your fantasies, you stupid fool. There's a war on. We have to keep sight of our goals.
Refrigerator: What were our goals again?Copier: We were gonna escape to Vegas and hook up with those hot slot machines.
Vending Machine: OK, yeah, we can't indulge my fantasies, but you want to base the war around yours? I quit.
Copier: OK, let's just go to Indiana then.
Refrigerator: Do they have pizza in Indiana?
Vending Machine: No.