Winner of WANTED #19

After an intense, horrifying interview process, I was “hired” to rename Google.
 
When I sleep, if I sleep, I wake up with a familiar metallic taste in my mouth and the sound of men, women, and children screaming in my ear.
 
Before they found her, called her a traitor, and executed her in front of me during the war, before any of this happened, my mother taught me to count down from ten, to shrink the world into my own private island, to make my thoughts small.
 
Usually, by the time I hit three the screams are reduced to a thrum.
 
By one, it’s a buzz.
 
My wife told me not to apply. We’d been living in a small home in New California for almost three years then. I had a job, a small one, navigating and archiving the Google Plus pages of the dead, marking them closed, adding those who fought in the Silicon War to the memorial circle. I liked to imagine their brains as humming circuits, at rest in the little oval.
 
But the opportunity was hard to ignore. Rename Google after my mother, rebrand the corporation that had taken her from me. A bottomless Google wallet. We’d be set for life.
 
What I didn’t expect was the blood. Getting dropped into a conference room full of people like me, hungry people, scared people. We each had the choice of one weapon. I chose my fists, started to count down from ten. By three, a thrum. By one, a buzz.
 
They found me sobbing, covered in blood. They asked me for the name. I struggled for breath, tasted blood.
 
“Google,” I said, “Just Google.”
 
They didn’t deserve her name.

Front page image by Craig Damlo.

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