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The Screwtech Letters

By Beka Gremikova

To: georgethegremlinhaha@crashandburn.com
From: sirfrederickgrim@upgradeorbust.org
Subject: Re: Hello…

Dear Cousin George,

It’s good to finally hear from you! Are you still living in that cheap hunk of metal you call a computer? The one you’re always complaining about at gremlin get-togethers?

How’s the software running? Bet your technician still leaves flashy screensavers on all the time. Ugh, those blasted screen-blippities give me a headache. Then I get annoyed. And break things. On purpose.

Did I tell you that’s how I got my penthouse? Yeah, I finally got fed up and crashed my old computer. That’s when my technician bought me this place—and gave up on the fancy screensavers. It’s so clean and tidy here, and the new house runs so smoothly. None of that noisy whirring to keep you up at night and make you grind your teeth. And the heating system isn’t busted, unlike someone’s I could mention.

You really should consider encouraging your technician to upgrade. You might get a state-of-the-art penthouse version like myself.

Sincerely,
Sir Frederick Grim


Cousin George,

Okay, okay, I get it, you couldn’t afford to be picky about your first computer. I understand that. My first home was a real fixer-upper, too.

So let’s talk about your next computer and break you out of the bachelor pad into a nice family home for you and your favorite gremlin gal.

First, we need to get rid of your technician’s pesky computer habits.

Before you argue, I know messing with technicians can be dangerous. But it’s what we gremlins do best! Without us, technicians would assume that just because they tinker with these high-speed computers, they suddenly run the world or something.

We keep them humble, George. We help put the humility in human.

Now, here’s what you must do: When the technician opens your computer, freeze the screen. Technicians hate that. They’ll turn the power off without shutting down correctly, which will lead to more issues in the internal hard drive. And then, eventually…

Crash.

You’ll probably hear some colorful language that you can use to impress your gremlin gal.

Believe me, it works.

Rooting for you,
Cousin Frederick


Dear George,

Your gal emailed me complaining that you still haven’t crashed the old bachelor pad. Did you get cold feet at the last second? Listen, one computer crash isn’t the end of the world. Usually. It’s a fairly common occurrence.

Maybe you’re scared of your technician? Listen, her being an old, cranky lady doesn’t make the slightest hint of difference. You cannot show fear, or you’ll be stuck in that bachelor pad until it combusts.

Yes, sometimes humans can be melodramatic and drastic, but those are exceptions, not the rule. After a tantrum, they’ll usually upgrade to a better model and go on with their lives.

Don’t make me come over there.

Fred


George,

I stand corrected. Your technician isn’t a cranky old lady, but a stressed-out hipster dad who’s trying to teach his mother-in-law how to use a computer? The rules still apply, no matter who the technician is!

CRASH THE DAMN MACHINE, GEORGE.

My sister’s new baby has more spunk than you—already crashed their technician’s cell phone.


Dear George,

My wife tells me I spoke too harshly. Perhaps she’s right.

I just want to encourage you in your path to embracing your gremlin-ness. Everyone gets cold feet. It actually took me a long time before I got the nerve to crash a computer.

You don’t have to go big or go home the first time around. Try allowing a bunch of pop-up ads to come through on the web browser. Or sending very important emails straight to spam. Or crashing a website that’s just about to post the winners of a contest. There are a million tiny ways one can be a gremlin! It’s what makes this job so rewarding. We are the reason those little devil emojis exist, after all, right?

Wishing you many hours of colorful cursing,

Freddie

P.S. Don’t forget to randomly shut down for updates and spam your technician with notifications he didn’t sign up for!


Georgie!

I heard word you’ve upgraded! Congratulations! Your technician got sick of that cheap monstrosity, did he? I’m happy to hear all your small passive-aggressive bugs made their mark.


Dear George,

All right, all right, I shouldn’t have said, “cheap monstrosity.” My first computer was a desktop the size of a doghouse, so what do I know? Everyone’s allowed their taste in machinery.

Still, aren’t you happy with your penthouse? Doesn’t it run so smoothly? Isn’t it nice and quiet? No more bubbly screensavers for you! This is a professionals computer. Your technician isn’t even going to let his kids touch it, much less his cranky mother-in-law.

My sincerest congratulations and felicitations,
Sir Frederick Grim, Crasher of Computers


GEORGE.

I—What—your penthouse is gone?

I demand ANSWERS.

From,
Fred


Ah. So your technician’s kids spilled juice all over it. Little twerps. I’m glad you can couch surf in your technician’s tablet, at least. It may be no bigger than a New York apartment, but it’s better than nothing, right? And now you can mess with the tablet’s camera and delete apps while he’s not looking!

Also, about your accusation that I’m getting too big for my keyboard—“Crasher of Computers” is my official title, thank you very much. I only use it for special occasions.

Sincerely, your miffed
Cousin Frederick


George,

I’m confused. I don’t understand. What do you mean, your technician has sworn off all technology and is going off the grid TO LIVE IN THE WOODS?!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beka Gremikova writes and dreams from the Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada. Her passions include travelling, folklore and myth, and geeking out over The Legend of Zelda. Her work is featured in Havok’s Bingeworthy and Sensational anthologies as well as other collections. In 2020, she also received Havok’s “Most Prolific Author” Award. When she’s not watching anime or Youtube snake-hatching videos, she can be found curled up in a corner with a mystery novel.


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7 comments - Join the conversation

Leave a Reply to Katie Hanna Cancel reply

 

  • Ha! This was hilarious! I enjoyed that it was based off of the Screwtape Letters, which was a great book. At times it certainly feels like there’s something trying to annoy us on our electronics. Poor George!

  • “You’ll probably hear some colorful language that you can use to impress your gremlin gal. Believe me, it works.”

    *CACKLING*

    Beka, this turned out to be one of my favorite of all your stories!!! It’s absolutely hilarious, and I relished every moment!! :D

  • I was looking forward to this one from the moment I saw you post about it! I love the Screwtape Letters’ influence, and the concept is just too good. Well done!

  • Beka, absolutely loved it! I agree that this is one of my new favorites. C.S. Lewis would be proud!

  • I’ve been telling people about this story since before it came out, and it’s just so much fun! What a clever concept.

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