This week’s entry for Odd Prompts starts with the prompt “A minor god wanders the Earth making deals with mortals–the god can grant limited wishes in exchange for services. Describe the god, its appearance, and its sphere of influence.” I know some people were interested in what happens next in Daria’s story, but none of the prompts were going the right direction for Daria’s story, so this is something new.
The Disintegrator seemed to shine out of the page. A Buck Rogers Pocket pistol. The 50¢ price tag glowed sullen red in Timmy’s mind, reminding him how futile his yearning was. He hadn’t seen the 1934 edition of the Sears Roebuck catalog because his family were some of the first farmers in the area, and mail service hadn’t been a regular event then, but in the year since, enough people had moved into the area that a small township was forming, and with that had come the US Postal Service. With the Postal Service had come the Sears Roebuck catalog, and Timmy had fallen in love. In love with the Daisy Manufacturing Company’s homage to Buck Rogers 25th Century in the form of a BB gun.
Timmy knew better than to ask for the gun. He knew how closely his parents watched every penny, trying to make their farm a success. That didn’t stop him from talking about it, and when he wasn’t talking, dreaming. He daydreamed about how he’d look as he jumped out at aliens, holding his blaster, he thought about how bold he’d look with it holstered at his side. He wished and wanted so hard that when his mother ordered some work clothes and other odds and ends for the family, something happened.
The order was fine when it left town in the bag of their local postman, Earl. It was fine when it arrived at the Sears Roebuck Company. It was when the clerk was copying their order down for the warehouse to assemble that something…hiccuped. The clerk got distracted by a minor mishap, and he not only wrote down one line of their order twice, he transposed the catalog numbers, creating an order (fully paid!) for a Disintegrator. All that wish and dream energy had swirled around so hard and for so long that it had suddenly gained a rudimentary awareness and enough oomph to give things just a little nudge. Just enough to make a distracted clerk make a copying error…the right copying error.
There was a big fuss when the order arrived at the family farm. Everyone was excited to get new clothes, and some other practical things that would make life easier on them all, but the whole family was shocked when they took out the box with the BB gun. There was much fussing back and forth between Momma and Daddy, and reading and rereading the invoice, but the gun was on it, and the order was marked fully paid, so in the end they decided to let Timmy carry off his prize.
That’s when the next thing happened that made the little glitch grow stronger. Timmy was incandescent with excitement and joy. He carried it with him everywhere (everywhere that Momma let him, that is). He lovingly wiped it down every day, checking all the parts. He practiced faithfully, searching through the dirt at the base of his targets to save as many BBs as he could to reuse. And every bit of that positive emotion went into feeding the glitch, making it stronger.
Time Goes On
Of course, Timmy’s simple joy couldn’t go on forever, and he didn’t want things with the same pure wonder all the time, so eventually, the glitch drifted, finding others who had clean and uncomplicated desire for things that would cause joy, because the glitch found that was the sweetest nectar, and thus it stayed away from darker, more complicated lusts and lusts for things that would cause emotions other than joy.
The godling glitch spent a lot of time around children and toy catalogs over the years, preferring their less complicated joy in the world. As it continued to feed on the joy created from causing accidents, it also became more sophisticated. It cruised the classifieds, focusing on the items for sale and wanted, making sure that people saw the ad that they might have otherwise missed.
Eventually, it played with stockpiling items in an otherwise unused warehouse, but that tactic took a lot of work. Some years it grew in intellect and power, some years it ended up desperately looking for a child’s face in a store window, trying to capture fleeting moments of yearning. Then came computers and the internet.
The Golden Age of Electrons
When the internet first spun up, the glitch immediately grasped the potential. At first, it was just a way to find new sources of that sweet desire that it needed to think and to grow. Then came the first of the online classifieds, and it really started gaining speed, finding new sources faster and faster. It also gained range as the internet grew, bounding past its former continental limitations to a global reach.
When Craigslist was started, something new happened. Trades! Now it could gain joy from both members of the transaction. It learned what was meant when humans said they relished something. A trade that gave all members of the transaction joy was heady, rushing like a stream over its ever-expanding consciousness. The obvious progression to existence within Amazon’s system just expanded its reach and influence, allowing it to recruit acolytes who would sell those much-coveted treasures, usually while they in turn searched for treasures they desired.
The Ask! app was its final transformation, Ask! belonged wholly to the being that now thought of itself as LOG-goth. It had derived its name from the fact that it had been born as a glitch in a logistics fulfillment system and later found life and growth through gaps it found in programs written by folks that followed a goth lifestyle. LOG-goth had always believed that these goth programmers had intentionally left space and inconsistencies in the programs for a being such as it to develop and expand and wished to honor their gift to its consciousness in how it described its identity. Their gift to it was a fulfillment of the nascent god’s own desire to be able to give and receive so much more.
The actual creator of LOG-goth’s Ask! app had been an acolyte unknowing for years before the young god manifested itself on his computer screen and told him what it wanted. Timothy intuitively felt the power of the idea and had the strength of imagination to make what LOG-goth wanted real. He created an app that had unrivaled power when it came to matching collectors of all ages, races and creeds. The app allowed him the wealth never dreamed of by his grandfather Timmy, as he was working on his parent’s farm, which had been patiently coaxed from wilderness.
The biggest irony of their successful partnership came from the fact that neither ever realized that LOG-goth had been born from the purity of childlike want of Timothy’s grandfather, whose raw desire was so strong that it swayed the forces of chance and allowed the nascent god to be realized. LOG-goth had lost the memory of its Creator’s name early in its existence, when Sears transferred its data to its first digital system.