Halloween Special: Wccftech’s Compendium Of The Spooky Vol. 1
“You don’t understand! I am not delusional” exclaimed a clearly frustrated Keith.
“My dear Keith, I am not saying you are delusional but you have to understand I am a man of science and I am telling you there is no such thing as bad luck that only extends to electronics – or bad luck itself for that matter” replied the doctor calmly.
Keith had spent the past hour explaining to him (for the nth time) that tech-related items kept on breaking down in his presence but every time he had tried to empirically prove it to the good doctor, it had failed to do anything.
Keith had been the doctor’s patient for almost half a year now and every time he would attempt to find some way to prove to the doctor that he really had an ailment – or curse as Keith called it – absolutely nothing would happen.
“Okay, lets try another test” said Keith “Hand me your smartphone”
“Sure” and the doctor handed over his phone.
Keith held the phone and stared at it for a few minutes, as if expecting something to happen, sighed and handed it back.
“I think I am going to go home now”
“May I suggest you reflect on whether this career is really the right option for you Keith? I mean you work in tech support. Maybe this is your subconscious telling you it’s time for a career change” remarked the Dr.
“No thanks Doc, it’s the only thing I can do. You wouldn’t understand” said a weary Keith, “I will see you same time next week then?”
“Of course, please take care”.
Keith got up and left the apartment.
As he walked down to his home he couldn’t help but think of how life had been like before his curse.
He hadn’t used a gadget in over six months and the only time it went back to normal was when he was trying to empirically prove to someone it existed. Maybe he should just move in with the doctor and live his life there.
As he walked down the street, a girl that passed him cursed as her phone inexplicably died.
It had all started when he had been rude to this guy in a tech support bar at the local retail store. He had laughed at him and walked out but how he wished he hadn’t.
A middle-aged businessman passed by too closely and went on blissfully unaware of the fact that the entire data on his laptop had just been deleted.
Keith had to quit his job within a week of his curse and the only job he seemed to be able to do was working as a tech support in the same bar (oh the irony). He had spent most of his free time these few months looking for that techie but the company that had employed him had been most unhelpful; it was almost as if that person had never existed in the first place.
He stopped at the traffic sign (old age electronics like bulbs appeared to be mostly unaffected by his influence) and stood by an electronic car for too long and only started moving when he heard shouts coming from inside and what was the unmistakable sight of the infotainment screen bellowing white smoke.
He knew that his curse appeared to only impact silicon-based circuitry somehow – the only type of electronic that bar had fixed.
Interestingly, if a device was already broken in some way, his influence would fail to hurt it and instead let him feel exactly what was wrong with it – making him one of the greatest tech support employees to ever walk the earth.
His colleagues were in awe of his ability to just pick up a device and know exactly what was wrong with it – although they would laugh at the true explanation just like the doctor did.
He stepped into his apartment and turned on the aged TV sitting in his lounge. It was a really old black and white design that was powered by vacuum tubes and he’d managed to wire it up to cable. Black and white TV was better than nothing after all.
Keith was sitting at the tech support bar, staring into space when a man in his thirties approached him.
“Hi, looks like my laptop isn’t working properly” and handed him an old Inspiron.
Keith silently accepted the device and as soon as he touched it knew that it had a fried cooler which was causing the CPU to overheat and shutdown.
“Its not a problem sir, please come back to collect it within two hours” he churned out the standard reply.
“Two hours? Can’t you do it a bit quicker? I am in a hurry. “
Keith was used to dealing with unruly customers by now. In fact by his estimation at least 50% would demean him in some way (he wasn’t unaware of the fact that he himself had been part of that 50% just a few months ago) and some rare jackasses could make his life absolutely hell. It was a pity there was no way to control his electronic bad luck or he would have given them a parting present.
“Sir, priority tech support costs $10 extra”
“Why do you need the extra $10 bucks, I saw you weren’t doing anything when I came over, it’s not like you have any major workload” argued the man.
“Company policy sir, if you do not want to pay the extra $10 bucks you can collect it after two hours” replied a weary Keith.
“Fine. I will pay it. Get it done”
Keith entered the task into the system and handed the guy the receipt.
The guy took it and stormed off.
Internally sighing again, Keith opened the back of the laptop and started desoldering the cooler IC and the fan. He had the replacement parts installed in the next five minutes and waited for the guy to come back.
It was almost half a day before the person returned.
“Here’s your laptop sir, it will be $35 for the repair including parts”
“Does this include the priority fee?” asked the man.
Keith braced for what he knew was coming
“Remove that, I took the laptop after five hours.”
“But we had it fixed within twenty minutes sir, you availed the priority support”
“That’s not my headache. Remove the priority fee”
At this point, Keith knew the guy would argue for a few more minutes then ask to see his manager and the fight would continue for another 10-15 minutes before the guy got his way anyways.
He had a splitting headache and just wasn’t in the mood for that kind of confrontation and decided to pay the $10 fee himself.
“Sure sir, I have removed it” he said, expecting a thank you at the very least.
“Good, don’t try to rip off customers like that next time.” came the haughty reply.
For the first time in six months Keith felt the hurt deep inside him.
He said nothing as the guy took his laptop and walked off.
“How would you feel if you were in my place, I wonder” he whispered softly and continued to stare into nothing.
Keith woke up the next day and put the pan on the fire to make his cup of coffee.
It was a beautiful day but the depression that he had been keeping at bay for almost half a year was finally starting to set in.
In what can only be described as a zombie-esque fashion, he made his way to his place of work and sat down in his seat and started to drink from his flask of coffee.
It had barely been five minutes since the store had opened for business when a young boy came lugging his desktop PC.
Keith accepted the bulky thing and paused.
There was nothing wrong with it.
“Sir, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the PC” he stated politely.
“What? No sir, there is. I was trying to install a CPU into the socket and bent the pins of the motherboard” said the young boy.
Perplexed, Keith opened the casing and saw what were unmistakable signs of brute force damage to the pins. This was an easy fix using a credit card and some tweezers but that wasn’t what he was wondering right now.
He touched the motherboard again and sure enough, felt nothing. But the thing was clearly broken!
He looked towards his colleague and hesitated. If he was wrong about this, he would owe his friend a pretty expensive smartphone.
“Ashraff, can I borrow your cell phone for a minute?”
“Finally ready to leave the stone age eh, sure, here” and handed Keith his phone.
In a daze, Keith opened up the menu, the camera, and nothing broke.
“I need to go – can you take over – please, I will owe you one.”
He left the store in a hurry and started walking. He needed someone to talk to about this and the only person he knew of was the doctor.
The doctor opened the door on the first bell and welcomed Keith inside.
The Dr. gave him a thorough look and said “You had a good day I assume, Keith”
“Yes, the curse, its lifted!” gushed Keith.
“That’s wonderful, tell me all about it. How did you feel when you found out you could hold your friend’s gadget again?” said the doctor, smiling kindly.
Keith stopped and paused.
“I never told you I held my friend’s smartphone”
The doctor’s smile deepened but said nothing.
Gears turning inside his head, Keith said softly “It was you.”
The doctor just nodded.
“Because you needed that my dear Keith. Needless to say, you are now richer in mind then you were when I first met you”
“And all this time-“
“I have been watching you, waiting to see if you were ready, and I can say with certainty that you finally are”
At a loss for words, the only thing Keith could say was, “Who… what are you?”
The Doctor laughed at this.
“You wouldn’t understand what I am even if I told you, my boy; as for who I am, many cultures know me by different names, you would know me by..”
“-Karma” Keith whispered.
The Dr. nodded again, smiling gently.
A couple of kilometers away, a guy in his thirties was suddenly realizing every tech device he touched was broking down.