Author’s Note: This story is just me taking a dumb joke further than necessary and amounts to little more than ridiculous overwritten “fanfic” for some streamers I follow. Without the context of the original impetus for it, it’s not funny and even with that, it’s barely funny. It’s not edited particularly well, nor written any better. There’s no real reason average readers should even be here (I’ve done all I can do to hide this link from all but the people that asked for it honestly). Go read my tree people story instead. It’s much better, I think.
Andy Jr first met Andy from behind a window that the two would never cross—for it was no window at all, but rather the screen of Andy’s well-loved Nintendo DS. Andy was a spry young English boy, prone to a well-timed joke, practiced in the art of finding the spotlight, and generally a cheerful person. However, he was still wracked with the stresses you would expect of a boy growing up. It was in part because of these anxieties—and, of course, a persuasive multi-million dollar advertising campaign by a certain Japanese gaming company—that little Andy Farrant summoned into existence the digital dalmatian “Andy Junior”.
This pup was a piece of code in the Nintendo game “Nintendogs”. Little Andy Farrant, who had now summoned Andy Jr. into existence, was now tied to a cycle of feeding and playing with the puppy by the tip of his DS stylus and the light of its backlight. Andy didn’t mind this one bit. He loved his little dalmation and it loved him. Andy and Andy Junior would laugh through the silent window of a little handheld game system. Each time Andy became overwhelmed by the rising tides of life, he would flip open his DS and prod at the little puppy so happy to see him.
This could not last, though. Time takes its toll on the appeal of such childhood novelties, don’t you know? Young Andy grew a shoe size or two and soon spent less time with his Nintendogs cartridge—and consequently, less time with the wee spotted dalmatian pup he’d made. After a few months, Andy didn’t even have that cartridge in his carrying case anymore. Now and then, when a pang of guilt or worry bubbled up, Andy Farrant would go and say hello to Andy Junior once more, but, by the end of the year, Andy thought of love and travel more than his silly little digital dog. One day he snapped shut the DS and removed the Nintendog cartridge for the last time. Andy and Andy Junior saw each other no more.
Or, at least, that’s how things sat from Andy Farrant’s view. For the Nintendogs, however, the experience of a closed Nintendo DS is one of a hellish prison. Every time the screen was flipped shut, “the silence”—as the Nintendogs called it—began. Andy Junior was left to pace in the darkness—smelling nothing, hearing nothing, and feeling an all-consuming worry that this void might never end. This death without death would probably have driven creatures such as you or I mad, but recall that the Nintendogs were pulled from this void and formed by it. Indeed, they had a higher tolerance, though not a limitless one, as we will see.
As the years ticked by, Andy Junior rarely faltered in his hope that little Andy Farrant would return to wiggle the stylus over his fuzzy head again. Yet, such things never came. The silence became an endless thing and the spotted pup waited for something he began to believe would never return.
Then, one day, there was a storm of sorts. A crackling terrible rumble that caused the pup to run about the void looking for cover from a couch (though all such comforts were currently unrendered and had been for years). It was a brief but terrible bellowing of thunder and lightning.
Once it subsided, though, Andy Junior saw a small point of light emanating from far-off. It wasn’t like when the screen was open and the great face of his one and only friend appeared. No, this was much smaller and more indistinct.
The pup ran for the spot since it was the first thing Andy Junior had seen in years. Anything was better than the silence. The spot grew bigger as he grew closer until it was huge—larger than any window he’d ever seen. The dalmatian marvelled at the massive display of a strange basement where a dark haired man was working at a desk. This odd figure was wearing a bone-white jacket and was hunched over a desk littered with unusual contraptions.
Andy Junior heard the man swearing up and down—which startled him terribly since the Nintendogs game never made use of the Nintendo DS’s microphone. Andy Junior had only ever seen the outer world—never really heard it. But, unbeknownst to the puppy, he was no longer inside the DS or even the Nintendogs Cartridge. The little Nintendog Andy Junior had done the unthinkable and travelled into a Google Home Max screen—which is equipped with cameras, mics, and screens. Now, he could hear and see it all. Exactly why this had happened was as much a mystery to the pup as the man he found before him.
This man in the lab coat was tipping vials, sparking bunsen burners, and soldering great lightning rods wired to large capacitors. It only when the figure turned that Andy Jr saw the face of his one and only friend Andy Farrant—though it was lengthened and change by age. The pup was so deeply in shock to see this that it didn’t even yip or yup or spin to gain his attention. It just sat for a silent moment using all the coding it could manage to process the joy and relief.
Andy Farrant, on the other hand, had not noticed the pup sitting in his digital clock. Instead, he was sweating with madness and muttering out equations to himself. The intervening years had been as fair to Mr. Farrant as they were to most in the city, if not fairer. He was a successful video game journalist who espoused a great love for the digital. He shared good company with his colleagues in his venture upon YouTube, and, in general, Andy was a kind, beloved, and dear man in public.
However, in private, the securities of his wealth and fame had driven him to pursue the sciences of the damned. Andy knew the algorithm that held his career hostage would be unkind to any change of person or appearance on his YouTube channel, but this seemed impossible to control. What if he grew old and his fans abandoned him? What if his friends were find other interests and move on to other careers? Little by little, the worries accumulated and, without a solid pillar in his life to calm these worries, they consumed him. He was driven into a private madness that drove him to the works of terrible medical literature—tomes from researchers that were disavowed by every medical board on earth. These Great texts detailed the science of endless life. They described, above all else, the means transfer one’s mind to the unwilling bodies of younger subjects. The result of this depraved madness was that Andy would end his livestreams each night and shut down his computer, then undo the weighty lock upon his basement door so he could retreat to his damp basement filled with his unethical experiments.
Now, Andy Junior knew none of this, of course, and likely lacked the capacity to even recognize the depravity of Andy’s basement. The pup was just a very happy and well-coded dalmatian that was torn from the void by his beloved god and owner Andy Farrant. The pup began to yip and yap and roll about waiting for the stylus, but to his disappointment, Andy took no notice. Instead, Andy paced the room for a bit, then spun and pulled away a thick canvas tarp laying over surgical bed. All at once, it revealed a young man laid there wired up in terrible ways to the many machines in Andy’s basement.
“Luke!” Andy shouted with frustration, “It didn’t have to go this far! Oh, Luke, you fool!”
But this “Luke” that laid out on the table did not respond. It did not move. Their skin was blushing cyanotic and their gaze was hollow and fixed.
“You must know that a sunny atmosphere cannot compensate for F.L.U.D.D.’s sloppy controls! It’s a game, not a vacation! Why must you have driven me to such mad acts? Does it bring you joy?” Andy roared and stormed about, but Luke remained deadly still.
Andy Junior stopped yipping and cocked his head at the strange scene playing out.
“I made you, Mr. Westaway,” Andy said, sputtering out a knowing laugh that grew to a cackle, “And I can make you again!!”
Andy then ran to a great metal machine mounted to the back wall. In a mad frenzy, he unscrewed a blown fuse—still smoking from the great burst of electromagnet energy its failure produced—and replaced it. He then flipped the many switches, and turned the many dials, that would need to be switched and turned so his infernal machine could start again.
However, in the moment just before he hit the switch that would resurrect his friend, he paused. Some thought had gripped him.
“Now, wait a minute, Andy ole boy, think this through. That Luke was always a troublesome rebel. Why would you wish to bring such stress back into your life?” He muttered, biting at his thumb, “No, I must… have a Luke, though. Without him, who will cohost the ‘Show of the Weekend’—who will make Ellen giggle? I must have those precious giggle-likes to feed the algorithm! But what do I do, then? I am doomed if I do and doomed if I don’t!”
It was then, in the opportunity of Andy’s silent pondering, that the pup let out his best yips and yaps of joy. Andy raised an eyebrow and searched the room. He had no pets—they got in the way of his experiments. Finally, he saw the glowing screen of his Google Home Max was invaded by a small avatar of a dalmatian.
“Now, what silly update has Google done this time? How do I stop this annoying barking?” Andy said approaching the screen.
For Andy Junior, even if just for a moment, it was like old times to see that face approach from the other side of a window. The pup rolled on his back and waited for the DS Stylus to scratch his belly. Instead, though, Andy shouted, “Hey Google, stop…this puppy?”
From all around the pup came the voice of a proper English woman who said, “Showing results for ‘stow disk puppy’. Did you want me to send that to your phone?”
“CANCEL!” Shouted Andy who then swiped at the screen.
The pup was confused. It leapt up for his best friend’s finger, but it was high up on the screen and flipping through settings menus.
“This is so weird. Why would I want this, Google?” Andy mumbled to himself before concluding that he’d deal with it later and unplugged the device.
Unfortunately, this plunged Andy Junior back into the silence and, again, all seemed lost. Andy Junior was in that void he had known for too long. Or, so the little pup thought until it noticed another pin of light off in the distance.
Wasting no time, Andy Junior ran for it and it soon revealed itself to be a smaller window with a greenish hue. Through it, he saw Andy Farrant again, but this time from quite a different angle. He barked and yipped again—but this time each bark caused the whole place to tremble terribly. For Andy Junior could not know, but he had escaped from the Google Max into a Nokia phone stashed in a box of forgotten electronics on a low shelf in the lab. The phone would beep and vibrate—as it was made to do—with each yip and yap.
Andy Farrant heard this rattling from the dusty corner of his lab and went to check it out. It didn’t take him long to see that his old Nokia phone was glowing and buzzing again. So, he picked up the phone for the first time in years. He squinted at the screen and was surprised to see a pixelated approximation of a small spotted puppy on its green display. It was then that Andy said, “My god, you’re not from a Google update, are you? What are you? And what do you mean to tell me?”
Not understanding Andy’s questions, the pup did the only thing it really knew how to do: it rolled again on its back and waited for its belly to be scratched by his only friend. Maybe it was the old phone, maybe it was the oddness of the whole evening, but somehow this triggered a memory in Andy of his young self huddled under a blanket after a tough day of school and prodding at the fuzzy little dalmatian with his stylus.
“Andy… Junior?” He said, welling up with tears. The pup yipped and yapped madly—recognizing his friend’s familiar smile, “Oh my dear friend, how it’s all gone wrong since I turned my back upon you. But how have you gotten into my screens?”
Andy pondered on this a moment by recounting the events of the evening to himself. He had invited his friend Luke Westaway over for an evening of pleasant conversation. Luke revealed the visit to be a ruse where he’d not leave until Andy replayed the entirety of Super Mario Sunshine—a game he hated deeply. The argument grew out of hand and—in a moment of passion—Andy had knocked Luke against his lab’s door. Andy thought it was barred and forgot he had left it unlocked. So, his dear friend Luke crumpled down to the bottom of his basement stairs. From there, of course, he had been attempting to resurrect him with his machines. The first pass did not work—blowing a fuse and mangling the house with a blast of electromagnetic energy.
Then Andy Farrant finally put together what must have happened. He explained it very clearly—and in a way that left no meaningful gaps in the logic. Specifically, Andy explained how these resulted in his old Nintendog save file gaining autonomy enough to travel through the air and between the screens in his house. I won’t repeat this explanation here, it was mighty dull, but rest assured it makes every bit of sense and no suspension of disbelief would be required if you were to hear it.
“That’s how it came to be,” Andy concluded—his voice hoarse from his detailed and, again, totally reasonable explanation, “You have come at the perfect time, old friend. For I am a bundle of worries.” Andy instinctively used his finger to scratch at the pup’s belly and continued speaking, “I worry for my work. I worry for my security. I worry about the terrible algorithm that whips upon my back. Oh, and, yes, I worry that I have killed Luke and my chance for giggle-likes, of course. And I worry that awakening him is merely inviting Mario Sunshine back into my life. I am in a pickle. If only he were more like you, Andy Junior.”
And then, Andy had the happiest thought he had in years. He sprung to his feet and shouted, “Why that’s it! Andy Junior, I shall replace that troublesome Luke’s mind with yours! And Ellen, after a period of adjustment naturally, will surely love a puppy as much as her original co-host—if not more! And most important of all, you will never make me play that terrible Super Mario Sunshine, will you? No, you won’t.”
And so, with a smile upon his face, Andy Farrant wiped the memories and unique personality traits of Luke Westaway from this thin veil of life, and replaced him with the doting dalmatian algorithm he had thoughtlessly left in a void for nearly 20 years.
Luke, now occupied entirely by Andy Junior, became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man at making Ellen giggle, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.
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