The ghost in the keyboard

An early Halloween story for you. And like all spooky ghost stories, this one REALLY happened! (OK, it's not all that spooky)

Once upon a time, there lived a not-quite-middle-aged woman named Sarina who loved her computer. She liked to type on it, she liked to click with the mouse. She liked to keep track of people she knew from surrounding villages through the internet. She even took college classes because she was far away from any form of available education opportunities, and used the computer to submit her homework over the internet. Her son also used the computer to listen to music he collected from other villages, and to corresponded with his friends.

Sarina maintained the computer well. She cleaned the dust out of the USB ports, and rubbed the lint off the bottom of her optical mouse. She dusted the fans now and again. If the computer said that it wanted a new software update, Sarina happily clicked the "update now" box. She did spyware sweeps regularly and was very careful not to let in a virus. A few times, though, as it is with all things, no matter how careful she was, the computer got sick from a viral infection. She loaded the computer up into her cart and urged her donkey on as fast at the beast would go to the nearest Geek Squad hut so the mysterious and strange Geeks, the keepers of the secret computer chip healing rituals, could perform their voodoo magic on her beloved computer.

However, there was one problem with the computer. Occasionally, after a good night's rest, the keyboard wouldn't interface with the hard drive and so Sarina couldn't type. She couldn't access her email account, she couldn't write emails or update her Facebook page. She couldn't notify the people who bought her handcrafted seashell purses on ebay that she had sent their purchase. For a long time, simply rebooting the hard drive would solve the problem, and she would only have suffered a 5-minute delay in computing. She chalked it all up to a mischievous imp inhabiting her keyboard.

One day, though, the rebooting didn't work. Sarina tried five times. The mischievous imp, she thought, intends to wreak real havoc today. Frustrated, she banged the keyboard around in a desperate and futile attempt to shake the sprite out of her keyboard. "Go infect my wooden spoon for a change!" she shouted. But the mischievous imp wouldn't listen. Fortunately, Sarina was able to use her mouse to troubleshoot the problem. The ritual involved unplugging the keyboard and uninstalling the keyboard driver, then rebooting the computer, plugging the keyboard back in, which triggered the reinstallation of the driver. "Whew!" Sarina said as she watched the computer reinstall the program, "The mischievous imp has been defeated and expelled from my keyboard!" The keyboard worked once again. Sarina celebrated with a dance around the room with her husband and an extra half hour browsing the interweb.

All was well for the next year. But one day, the keyboard didn't work again. The mischievous imp was back. Sarina rebooted; the keyboard worked. But she waited for that day she knew was coming when the keyboard would be useless, impotent, and she could almost hear the mischievous imp laugh his little screechy trill of a laugh.

She waited. Every so often, the keyboard was nonfunctional but rebooting fixed the problem.

Then, one Tuesday morning, it happened. The rebooting didn't work. Sarina dug around in the little box of important papers under her bed where she had kept the uninstallation/reinstallation instructions. She followed the procedure to the letter. Down to the very last wave of the hand and incantation muttered under the breath.

The keyboard still didn't work. Fearing that the keyboard had succumbed to the evil machinations of the mischievous sprite, she took the problem to her husband as a last resort. He said, "Sweet Sarina, I think it is time we got a new keyboard. The tinker will be through the village in an hour and he might have a keyboard to sell for a few shillings." Sarina wiped her eyes and nodded her head. Sarina's husband left their hut with a few pennies in his hand.

Sarina couldn't stay in the hut while she waited. So she went to her neighbor's house for a good round of gossip and company while they both did mending. While she was gone, her son came home from his apprenticeship at the local grocer's shop, she waved to him when she saw him walking by and shouted to him that if he needed anything, she was right next door.

Soon enough, Sarina's husband came home with a box. He had met up with the tinker, who did indeed have a keyboard he was willing to sell. Sarina's husband handed her the box, for she was the one who could do the installation. She danced into her hut...

And spied her son sitting at the computer. He was typing.

"What?!" Her mouth gaped open. "That keyboard wasn't working this morning!" Her son looked at her like she was crazy.

"Um, it's working just fine," he said.

"But but....but.... it wasn't working! I had to reboot. I had to uninstall. It wouldn't reinstall!"

"Well, whatever it was, it works fine now."

"And you didn't do anything to it?"

"No, I just sat down and logged on to my email account and started typing."

Sarina sputtered and stared and shook.

The mischievous imp in the keyboard laughed his screechy trill of a laugh and Sarina sat in the corner and waited.


Karie said…
Ha ha ha ha!! I love your story! I think that same mysterious imp inhabits my laptop at times and can only be evicted by my electronic magic-wielder, Crap Cleaner.

In the distance I can hear the villagers chanting. It sounds somewhat like a demand for more Sarina stories. I hope you're ready to appease them.
Katie said… you bought a new keyboard? did you use it yet?
Jen said…
Wow, that's quite a tale for a keyboard. I hope it eventually concludes with a happy ending.
No it doesn't. It ends with me wondering what the heck is up and should we just keep the keyboard we bought?

Hello, daughter of mine up there in comment #2!
Scribbit said…
Sounds like you need to take him down to the Geek Squad and see if they'll take him part time :)