SEVEN: A young woman, mid-20s. Architect of the virus.
GEORGIA: A young woman, mid-20s. Friend of Seven.
CLEANER: Works for Seven.
CLEANER: Works for Seven.
SETTING: A window-less room with a desk and chair. Located in Washington DC.
TIME: Present. Seven is in a window-less room, monitoring activity on her computer. Her friend, a woman by the name of Georgia enters the room distraught.
GEORGIA: What is this?! (She holds up the phone.)
SEVEN: Ahh. Today marks the day. The last hour has kissed the first hour and so it begins. (She smiles and closes her computer.)
GEORGIA: Why are you so dramatic, Seven? Just take this virus off.
SEVEN: No. Soon those who are always trying to stay connected and be in the know will be pleading for a way out. Their “friends” will truly be seen as their enemies. Those who didn’t know how to log out will find out today. Those who forgot their passwords will search for it no longer.
Those who loved to tweet, post, like, friend request, poke, un-friend, comment, and repost will forgot about all that shit. Why? Because the poison isn’t worth destroying their precious phones, tablets, computers, watches, TVs. Logging in will equate death to technology. A social media virus. Its simplicity makes it beautiful. Now, people will betray social media before social media can betray them. Getting a virus just for logging into a social media account will not be worth it. So, beautiful, right?
GEORGIA: NO! THIS IS STUPID!
SEVEN: (She smiles and begins to pace around the room.) Yes! Thank you for bringing up the word “stupid” because there will be some stupid, weak minded people who would rather spend every minute of their life Facebooking, tweeting, YouTubing or Instagraming. And, those that do, will suffer greatly from it.
SMV is like that, like that R.I.P. bullet. Once they log in, the virus spreads like crazy. The first thing it does is stops the person from logging out. It then puts an encryption on anything they have posted. After that the virus spread throughout the device you used to log in, destroying it completely. (Smiling)
This thing is so smart because while it’s doing all of that, it still has time to infect any account you linked to the social media account you just logged into and then it sends a link to all of your friends. When they click on that link they will have the virus, too. The virus destroys anything, I mean anything in its path. And, because people can’t help but “log in” (Claps) the virus will never stop.
GEORGIA: (Looks annoyed.) You have nothing to gain by doing this, so why do it?
SEVEN: Nothing to gain? Oh, sweet Georgia, sweet, sweet Georgia. At a glance it may appear that way but I have a lot to gain like your superficial sadness, other people’s superficial sadness, and oh yeah, teaching the world how easy it is to bring chaos from something that means nothing. (Makes a “duh” face.)
GEORGIA: UGHHH, SEVEN!!! You are so pathetic! This is why you don’t have a man or friends!
SEVEN: I do too have a man.
GEORGIA: (She rolls her eyes.) The barista at Peet’s is not your man. Y’all went on one date.
SEVEN: You don’t know what you’re talking about. Our schedules keep conflicting, but our second date is coming up soon.
GEORGIA: BLAH, BLAH, BLAH BLAH
[They hear a bing. It’s Georgia’s phone. She just received a text message. Georgia begins to tear up.]
SEVEN: Oh, I’m pathetic? Look at you, staring at that phone like it is your key to happiness. When you hear that bing your heart skips as if you’ve been kissed for the first time. When you see that you have a message you smile at the anticipation of information. In the back of your mind you say to yourself, “yay, someone loves me.” Ha! I’m not pathetic and you are delusional. Machines rule you. I’m just trying to set you free, don’t you see?
GEORGIA: But I don’t want to be free. I want to be a slave.
SEVEN (She slaps Georgia.) Don’t talk like that, Georgia! You sound like a damn fool!
GEORGIA: Well, I’d rather be foolish than crazy. [Seven slaps Georgia again. Georgia slaps Seven. They stare at each other and walk away. Silence.] Seriously, Seven, why are you doing this?
GEORGIA: Because what?
SEVEN: Because of this. (She motions her arms.) You are giving me your undivided attention. Do you remember the last time you gave me that? Shit! I don’t! GEORGIA: (Throws arms in the air.) Well fucking, freakin’, fantastic, Seven! You got my full attention now!
SEVEN: I know! Isn’t it great!
GEORGIA: No, it’s not great.
[Another message comes in on Georgia’s phone. She begins to cry.]
SEVEN: Stop crying.
GEORGIA: I can’t; you fool! I need my phone. I just need it, Seven. (She bends over defeated.)
SEVEN: No you don’t! Look how strong you are without it? You’re talking to me with eye contact. How do you feel?
GEORGIA: (Crunches over.) I feel watched. I don’t like this feeling.
SEVEN: It will pass. Just relax. (Walking back to her computer. Silence. Georgia begins fidgeting.)
GEORGIA: So, what’s your endgame? Obviously, you haven’t done this just to me.
SEVEN: You’re right. I’ve done this to other people. But my end game is just a conversation. A conversation with the world.
GEORGIA: (Still fidgeting) But has it occurred to you that this social media is part of our communication evolution? And the fact that you are destroying this growth you will ultimately make us weaker and less capable of survival as time goes on. You are impeding our growth.
SEVEN: Wow, Georgia. You’re really losing your shit, but I’m glad you’re thinking outside the box. See, you wouldn’t have said anything like that if you were on your phone. You’re thinking freely now.
[Silence. Georgia walks over to her phone.] What are you doing?
GEORGIA: It hurts to think freely. I don’t want to be on the outside anymore; I want to be in. (She pulls out a gun.)
SEVEN: What the hell, Georgia? Where did you get that gun?
GEORGIA: It doesn’t matter. (She opens the message on the phone and points the gun at her head. She smiles.) James wrote, “Hey cutie?”
[She pulls the trigger. Georgia falls to floor, dead but with a smile on her face and her phone still clenched in her hand.]
SEVEN: (Looking at her.) Poor Georgia.
[Seven snaps her fingers and two cleaners come in to take the body away.]
Clean this up and bring in the next person in 30 minutes. I need a coffee break after that.
[The two cleaners clean up and take the body away. They exit stage right. Seven exits stage left. Stage black. Curtain closes.]
A. Esmie Wright is a Nigerian-American and the creator of Writings To The River, a blog that contains her short stories and poems. She currently resides in Maryland.
Related article in this issue: Montreal’s International Anarchist Theatre Festival