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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dirty Browsing


‘Would you boys like a drink?’
                ‘No thanks, mum I-‘
                ‘Yes please Mrs Glatch.’ Liam interjected innocently enough – the kid was thirsty. James thought he was just trying to show off.
                ‘One for you as well James?’ He looked back to see Liam had picked up the mouse, his mouse, and had moved it to his side of the keyboard and all of a sudden James felt a little thirsty too.
                ‘Yes please.’ He said, and then he brought it back, feigning to navigate the page to justify possession.
                As Mrs Glatch left the room, Liam looked over the notes they’d made in James’ history book. He ran his hand through his long hair and rocked back on the extra chair that had been brought through from the dining room table.
                ‘Do you think we’ve got enough?’ James asked.
                ‘Probably. If not you can just ask people if they have any questions at the end.’
                ‘You can answer them then.’ Liam’s mouth twisted into a little smirk.
                ‘You know, you might actually have to say something at some point. I bet Mr Cody will ask you a question directly.’ James didn’t look happy.
                ‘No. We’re using my computer. You can do all the talking.’
                ‘I’m just saying he might. Do you want me to go through some of this with you? Just in case?’
                ‘No.’ James said, scowling. He took it as a deliberate attack on his intelligence. Liam thought he was so smart, just because after school he actually read books. To James it was like a curse word and whenever Liam tried to talk about something he found interesting in one of them James would cut him off and talk about the game he was playing on his Playstation.
                Liam might be the smarter, but James had enough cunning to ensure it was always his house they hung out at. Liam had no Playstation of his own so winning was a guarantee, and no matter how repetitive it might be it still felt good. So you know what Liam? Your books can suck it.
                ‘James?’ Mrs Glatch called out from the kitchen. ‘Can you come and get your drinks please?’ He got up and headed to get them.
                When he got back he found Liam sniggering as he looked directly at the screen. He put the drinks down on the desk and once again placed the mouse on his side of the keyboard. There was nothing on the screen except for a minimized Internet page, so James clicked it.
                ‘”Boobies.”’ James read aloud, amazed. No matter where he looked on the page he couldn’t escape another wonderful pair of breasts. Liam started laughing.
                ‘Haha, you look like you’ve never seen them before.’
                ‘No, I have but…’ Try as he might he could not pull his eyes away from the screen. ‘How come I can see them? I’ve typed that in before but nothing came up, I had to go to page one hundred just to see anything.’
                ‘Have you never heard of safe search?’
                ‘No, what’s that?’
                ‘Boys?’ James’ heart leapt into his mouth and he scrabbled to close the page before she got into the room. They probably couldn’t have looked guiltier if they tried, sitting in front of a desktop with nothing open. Liam had desperately locked himself into a position with his eyes facing front as he struggled to keep back the laughter.
She poked her head around the corner and looked at James placidly.
                ‘Can I assume by all the noise that you’ve nearly finished your project?’
                ‘Erm, yeah, nearly mum.’
                ‘Okay. Don’t be too long, your father will need the computer for work soon.’
                When she left earshot James breathed a huge sigh of relief. The two of them looked at each other and Liam started chuckling.
                ‘…safe search?’ James suggested.
                ‘Oh yeah, right. Open up a new page and I’ll show you.’ The search engine had been set as the homepage, avoiding one of the steps. ‘There, you see? Under the search bar it says “moderate safe search is on”, click on it.’ James followed instructions and it brought up a new menu of options. ‘Now you want to click on “don’t filter my search results”’. It asked to confirm that he was at least eighteen years of age but the pair of them shared a glance and sniggered. ‘Okay, now you can see all the boobies in the world.’
                ‘It’s really that easy?’
                ‘Yep. Oh, don’t forget to change it back after.’
                ‘Oh right.’
                ‘And obviously you still have to delete the Internet history as well.’
                ‘Delete the what?’
                ‘Hahaha oh my God.’
                ‘What?’ James asked, worried now.
                ‘The computer keeps a record of all the pages you ever visited, didn’t you know that?’ James’ face went white.
                ‘Where?’ He almost barked. Liam started giggling again.
                ‘Take it easy, as long as you’ve not searched for anything else I don’t think your dad will notice the occasional booby…’ James shifted nervously in his seat. ‘Have you?’
                ‘What? No I…’ VAGINA! Somebody screamed at him inside his head. ‘Just the boobies.’
If Liam looked doubtful, James chose to ignore it.
James may have his Playstation, but it was Liam who had an older brother. He was not selfish though and stepped into the breach with a measure of pride, to teach James the ancient ways of dirty browsing.
                With the basics now covered, Liam allowed himself a little room for creativity.
                ‘You know if you get bored of seeing the same results every time you can try wording your search a little differently. Like, instead of searching for this…’ Liam typed “sex” into the search bar. ‘…you can try this.’ Then he highlighted it and replaced the word with “erotic”. Fluidly, he transitioned into the role of the jester. ‘And then you can change it up a bit, try new things, like…’ He quickly typed in a second word and before James could react, hit return.
                Thankfully, where they had opened a new page the words were run in a full web search that yielded links, not pictures, of “erotic poo”. It had to be said, looking down the list there were some pretty filthy results, and they laughed at the sound of them. One in particular caught Liam’s eye though and he looked thoughtful for a moment.
                ‘”Two girls, one cup”.’ He read aloud. James looked just as confused as he did. ‘That sounds familiar for some reason. I think I heard my brother telling his mate that it’s a good one.’ Curious now, he replaced “erotic poo” with the new phrase in the search bar.
                Up came a new list of results, but nothing that was really helpful. There were plenty of links, but the descriptions were nonsensical and stuffed full of “filthy” this and “teen” that.
                Liam took the mouse and moved the pointer up towards the other search option tabs and James grew nervous. He stuck out a hand tentatively as if to prevent him, but Liam was quick to reassure him.
                ‘Don’t worry, we’ll delete the history. I just wanna see…’ He clicked on the images tab.
                As the first few images started loading the pair of them stared at the screen in cohesive bemusement.
                ‘Is she –‘ James started to ask, and without thinking, Liam clicked on an image to get a better look.
                ‘Eurgh!’ James screamed out.
                ‘No way!’ Liam exclaimed, the pair of them horrified by what they saw. What were they expecting given the route they took to get here?
                ‘Boys!’ Mrs Glatch called down from upstairs.
                James lunged for the mouse as he heard her rushing down the stairs but Liam instinctively protected it under his hand. As they jostled the weight forced Liam into a right click and a menu appeared briefly on the screen. It was enough to snap them back into some rational thought and they froze.
                ‘Do you think we did something?’ James asked quickly.
                ‘No. If we clicked save it would ask us where we want to put it.’ Liam replied.
                Mrs Glatch was on them sooner than they had anticipated but Liam reacted quickly and cleverly, choosing not to risk missing the close button in the corner of the page and instead clicking the much bigger button in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen to open a new Internet page.
                ‘Are you alright boys? What happened?’ She asked concernedly. James looked to Liam for help.
                ‘It’s okay Mrs Glatch’ He called out over his shoulder. ‘We just accidently stumbled across a picture of an artist’s interpretation of Julius Caesar’s death.’ All the while calmly selecting the minimized page with a right click and closing it without having to bring it up. The deed done, he turned to face her. ‘Do you know how Julius Caesar died Mrs Glatch?’
                ‘Julius Caesar… I think he was assassinated wasn’t he?’
                ‘That’s right,’ Liam said with a grin. ‘Twenty-three wounds by sixty potential assassins… It was a bit gory.’
                ‘Oh boys, you have to be careful when searching the Internet. There are all kinds of nasty things on there.’ Too right, James thought, and the pair of them exchanged a glance. ‘Have you finished your project now?’
                ‘Pretty much, just need five minutes to check a couple of things.’
                ‘Okay. James?’ She said readdressing him. ‘I’ll tell your father you’re nearly done.’
                ‘Okay mum.’
                She left them to it and with the adrenalin still pumping they shared a couple of jokes whilst Liam observed James put his teachings into practise, tuning safe search back on and deleting their Internet history. It was done just in time for James’ dad to sit down and use the open page to start checking his emails.
                ‘Your brother’s a proper weirdo though.’ James said as they went upstairs to his room.
                ‘Yeah, I’m gonna have to make sure I lock the toilet every time I go for a poo from now on.’ Liam said and they both laughed.
                They were playing the Playstation, normal order resumed with James thrashing Liam five-one on Pro Evo when they heard James’ dad start screaming. As he pounded his way up the stairs the two of them shared a horrified glance.
                ‘I thought we deleted it!’ James said, raising his voice over the approaching thunder.
                ‘We did!’
                ‘What about when the menu came up? It –‘
                ‘I told you! It would have taken us to another menu if we clicked on save!’
                Liam wasn’t wrong, if they’d clicked on “save as” it would have asked them where to save it – two clicks at least. Unfortunately saving the image as your new desktop background only takes the one. When James’ dad finished checking his emails and closed the page he got the fright of his life.


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