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Jason & Demarara #4:

by jamie harding 8 months ago in humor
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Protocol Issue

Jason was sat in the kitchen, tap-tap-tapping away at his laptop. Occasionally, he would creak off his stool, leave the kitchen, and come engage Demarara in eye contact.

“What?” she said each time he stepped out and distracted her binge. Santa Clarita Diet was her current poison. Her “what?” started out comprising a 50:50 mix of irk and disinterest, but by the time she’d uttered “what?” a fifth time, the irk ratio was hovering at 80%, the desire to kill roughly at 19.9%. The rest was down to miscellaneous gases that she put down to the sauerkraut she’d boiled and the two’d eaten a few nights back.

“Hmmm,” had been Jason’s response to the opening quartet of “what?”s, before disappearing back to the kitchen, and intensifying his tap-tap-tapping.

But the fifth proved a Hmmm too far for Jason — he could hear it in Demarara’s irk. He grinned defensively, itched his head, and what he had been working on all morning while she watched zombies.

Demarara muted Santa Clarita Diet.

“You’re rewriting my . . . protocol? What the hell do you mean?”

Jason sighed thoughtfully. “We’ve all got protocols, Dem. The order in which our brains process information. How it takes news, both good and bad, how it affects ourselves, and those nearest and dearest to us. How we respond to external stimuli.”

Demarara, her irk only ramped by Jason’s sudden profundity, and even more so by his use of “Dem,” glared at her man with great toxicity.

“Right . . . and you’re — writing a thesis on this? Taking an interest in the neurosciences?”

“Oh no,” said Jason. He paused, shuffled his feet. “I’m rewriting your protocol.”

For a long time after that, Demarara just stared. Jason shuffled once or twice more, nodded occasionally.

“My protocol,” Demarara intoned, just as it seemed that all life had ended.

“Yeah!” Jason took a step towards her, who brought it to a standstill with merely the raising of her eyebrows.

“I read it online,” he said. “All girlfriends who’ve been incumbent in a relationship after three years are likely to have a protocol issue.”

Demarara stared on.

“… it can’t be helped!” said Jason. “It’s the morphology of a girlfriend’s thought process. Let me explain.”

Demarara closed her eyes.

“In the build-up to the official commencement of a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship — the days or weeks where flirtation, messaging, and mutual physical activity are at their most tender and meaningful-

Demarara’s eyes fired open at Jason’s use of the word, “meaningful.” He wavered momentarily, then ploughed on.

“ . . . the protocol is still in the draft phase. It only contains protocols from previous relationships, along with an abstract of the new potential partner.

And while this is handy, to scientists . . .”

Demarara closed her eyes again.

“ . . . the data is far too scrambled and full of variables in order to have a meaningful, accurate, and scientifically sound protocol signed off. And every now and then, a review of this protocol becomes necessary. And, from what I’ve been reading up on, the protocol tends to drift to the point that the owner — in this case, you — responds to my news, my words, my ideas, my requests, my very voice in a way that is not helpful, not loving, not scientific.”

“For example! Q1 of year one of our relationship. I say to you, I’m going to play on the Xbox for a couple of hours, even though I know you wanted to power on with watching yet another season of Grey’s Anatomy together.

Back then, your protocol would’ve been reasonably receptive. Here,” Jason said, proffering a few pages of A4 paper, filled with lines and lines of data.

Demarara took the paper. Jason looked on, expectantly, his hands crossed behind his back. He positively hummed with kinetic energy, with a fervour Demarara hadn’t witnessed since the great tax rebate of 2017. She looked through the data, seeing information like:

STIMULUS ALERT: LOCAL DEVICE WISHES TO INTERFACE

DEVICE RECOGNISED YES

PREVIOUS INTERACTION YES

ALLOW TO SUPPLY INFORMATION YES

DOWNLOAD INFORMATION AUTOMATICALLY YES

DEVICE PLUG IN POTENTIAL YES

DUMP UNNECESSARY DETAILS SENT BY DEVICE YES

CURRENT KEYWORDS/PHRASES OF MEMORY TO DUMP

CRICKET/REMOTE CONTROL INSTRUCTIONS/THREESOME DESIRES /ANYTHING TO DO WITH MY SISTER/JORDAN PETERSON RELATED ENTHUSIAMS

HAS DEVICE ATTEMPTED TO DEVIATE FROM AGREED EVENING PROTOCOL YES

IS THIS GROUNDS TO INITIATE PROGRAM RIDICULING DEVICE YES

ARE THERE BENEFICIAL ALTERNATIVES TO RIDUCULING DEVICE YES

WILL DEVICE ULTIMATELY PAY FOR DEVIATION YES

ESPECIALLY AS DEVICE HAD CLAIMED TO BE WELL INTO GREY’S ANATOMY YES

I KNOW RIGHT, WHERE ELSE IS HE GOING TO LEARN MEDICAL JARGON AND GET HIS FIX OF UNLIKELY LOVE TRIANGLES YES

ARE YOU SELECTING “YES” BECAUSE THERE ISN’T AN “EXACTLY!” OPTION YES

EXTERNAL RESPONSE BEAM/AGREE YOU LOOK LIKE YOU NEED SOME QUALITY ALONE TIME/LEAVE DEVICE TO INTERFACE WITH DISSOCIATION MEDIA DEVICE

“So,” said Jason, annoyingly. “As you can see, at this early stage you are very much open to my suggestion that we essentially entertain ourselves, separately as individuals, for an evening. Furthermore, that sex is very much a possibility, despite the fact I’ll be murmuring inadequately at anything you say to me once I commence playing, and showing early signs of complete dissociation from your presence in my life.

“But if you turn to . . . here, let me.” Jason reached down and flicked through his printouts while Demarara let him, wondering why the hell

“Aha! Cried Jason, waving his arms. “The same scenario! I favour an evening of XBoxing whilst you do this, that, or the other, instead of an evening spent watching a terrible medical drama together.

“But this is Q3 of year two. As you can see, the yesses are largely still present. Except for PLUG IN ELEMENT POTENTIAL, which has changed from YES to the LOL EMOJI. Also, the keywords of memory to dump has increased to the point where the protocol refers me to a file that contains several thousand keywords and phrases, some of which I must say are rather hurtful. And your protocol will inform your visual to run the SIGH/TUT/EYEBALL ROLL/MUTTER/ESTABLISH AND EXAGGERATE HURT PROGRAM . . . erm, my sweetest Demarara, please don’t rip up those printouts, they’re . . .”

In bed that night, Demarara yawned, turned to her side, and said she was going to play Wordle. Really, she was surreptitiously reviewing a security report:

KNOWN DEVICE JASON ATTEMPTED TO INSTALL MALICIOUS SOFTWARE. THREAT NEUTRALISED WITH DESTRUCTION OF DATA, PATCH SENT TO DEVICE JASON CONFIRMING DEVICE WILL BE PERMANENTLY DESTROYED IF FURTHER ATTEMPTS ARE MADE.

PLUG IN OPTION REMAINS.

Written by JS Harding

Novelist (writing as LJ Denholm) - Under Rand Farm - available in paperback via Amazon and *FREE* via Kindle Unlimited!

Short story writer - Mr. Threadbare, Farmer Young et al

Humour writer - NewsThump, BBC Comedy.

Kids' writer - TBC!

humor

About the author

jamie harding

Novelist (writing as LJ Denholm) - Under Rand Farm - available in paperback via Amazon and *FREE* via Kindle Unlimited!

Short story writer - Mr. Threadbare, Farmer Young et al

Humour writer - NewsThump, BBC Comedy.

Kids' writer - TBC!

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