The Future: Sometime in early 2014
Supermarket systems have been infected by a virus dubbed ‘Dweebo’. The shelves are bare as the virus has infected suppliers’ systems. Already there are widespread riots. IT specialists are working around the clock to try to contain the worst computer virus ever to attack computers networks worldwide.
The Present: January 2013
Dwight stares down at his bank statement. At the stupid minus sign. So small. So insignificant. Just a tiny horizontal line barely two millimetres long. Yet it affects every part of his life. It makes him a poverty-stricken loser without a hope of getting Glenda.
Dwight picks up a pen. He draws a tiny vertical line across the minus sign. Boom! Instantly it becomes a plus sign. Instantly he is rich. Well, there on his bank statement at least.
Outside his door, Dwight can hear two women talking as they pass in the passage. He knows their voices: ugly, fat Mrs Matswe from Flat 106 and ugly, bony Mrs Marumo from 109. He realises right away: they are gossiping about Glenda.
“It’s a shame and a disgrace! That woman should not live among decent people! Opening her door with almost no clothes on when our children are playing there in the street! Having all those men to visit for money! Does her family know how she behaves?”
“Yes, the police should come for her. What she is doing is against the law. That will teach her a lesson. She struts around on her high heels like she is a Nollywood star. But she is no better than a street-walker. With no morals!”
Dwight is angry. Who do these ugly women think they are, talking behind Glenda’s back? They are just jealous, that’s all!
Dwight knows how it feels when others gossip about you. Back in his school days, the other pupils were always talking about him. Mocking him, laughing at him.
“Dweebo! Dweebo!” his classmates used to chant. “Yeah, Dwight the Dweebo!” Just because he had a strange name and wore glasses and always knew the answers in tests. And was top in Maths and Science and did all his homework. Instead of running around the streets. Or going to parties.
Even the teachers joined in sometimes.
At break times, Dwight used to hide away in the computer lab. It was too awful to be out in the playground, surrounded by pupils mocking him. Dwight spent hours working out computer programs, learning about different codes and scripting languages and software capabilities.
The computer teacher never called him “Dweebo”. No, the computer teacher called him a genius.
“The world is your oyster, Dwight.”
That’s what Mr Richards used to say.
“You are like an artist, the way you programme. You will do amazing things one day. Here. Let me show you how to bypass a computer security firewall.”
But then one day the computer lab was shut down. Mr Richards was taken away by the police for hacking and identity fraud. After that, Dwight spent break times hiding in the bushes behind the tuck shop.
“Chocolates!” Dwight says suddenly there in his dark flat. He has a little cash in his pocket. Not much, but enough.
“Yes. I will buy Glenda some chocolates. I will take them across the road to her. I will tell her how much I love her. How I worship her. And then she will invite me into her cottage. For sure!”
Tell us what you think: How do you feel about Dwight? Do you feel sorry for him?