The Future: Sometime in late 2013
Mr Moganana, the CEO of a multinational bank, was interviewed this morning. He denied the devastation that the Dweebo virus is causing in the financial markets worldwide.
Mr Moganana said, “I can assure you: the recession of the early twenty-first century is over. There are prosperous times ahead.”
When asked whether the Dweebo virus had affected financial systems, he said, “Our financial institutions are protected by the most sophisticated security. No jumped-up hacker will breach our firewall, my dear! We are invincible!”
The Present: January 2013
“No problem at all,” says Dwight to Glenda. Saturday is still five days away.
He walks back to his flat, thinking about his computer teacher of years ago. Mr Richards always told him he had the brains to make things happen.
Dwight reaches his front door and it hits him suddenly. Of course! So simple! So logical!
“Just swop signs!” he says aloud. Yeah! Turn the minuses into pluses and the pluses into minuses. How hard can that be? That will be the end of his overdraft. That will give him enough cash for seven nights with Glenda. Seven! By then she will surely be in love with him too?
Dwight sits down with his laptop, connects to the Internet. He can feel his mind shimmering with ideas. Shimmering and shining like that gold foil on the chocolates.
“A practice run!” he decides. “Yes, I’ll hack into that supermarket first. Try and splice the virus into the memory there. That will serve them right, allowing their till-operators to be so rude! Not letting me have the chocolates just because of fifteen stupid cents!”
Through the afternoon, the evening, Dwight is busy: pressing keys, deleting, trying out different methods. He forgets to eat supper. He doesn’t even notice when the room falls into the darkness of night-time.
The supermarket security system is child’s play. He hacks in with a laugh. The tricky part is disguising his virus, embedding it deep in the system, hiding it away so no extra-smart IT boffin will be able to deactivate it.
By four in the morning, his work is almost complete. Just the little matter of a signature.
“Got to sign my work! This is a masterpiece, this little programme. An artist always signs his work.”
Of course Dwight doesn’t use his real name. He doesn’t want to end up in jail alongside Mr Richards. Instead, in 8-point Century Gothic Italics, he types the single word Dweebo.
And then he falls asleep over his laptop.
The virus runs riot through the supermarket network, replicating itself, embedding itself ever deeper. Soon the entire supermarket chain is infected: from Disaneng to De Aar to Durban. It finds a loophole and slips into the systems of other retail chains.
When Dwight wakes, he jumps up, still in yesterday’s clothes. “Time to check my handiwork!” He heads for the supermarket.
Tell us what you think: What will Dwight find at the supermarket?