I was sixteen years old when I started working. My first job was at a cybercafé where a friend of mine worked, and thanks to him I got into that place. Right after he had finished teaching me everything I needed to know for a couple weeks, he left and I was alone for almost two months. During that time I remember a very peculiar day, when I met a user called “g00gle_240394”. The name stroke me as a little strange, since it had the word Google written with two zeros instead of the o’s, but I guessed it was only someone who was bored, because the first thing he told me was “What are you doing?”.
Before I answered I looked around, since the chat room we were talking through was the one that communicated the computers of the cybercafé. The clients hardly ever used that room, just the usual shy messages of “Can I use the printer?” or “Can I use your restroom?”. Usually, me and the other managers used the chat to announce that we were about to close or something like that. The place was almost full, but the message was sent from a machine that the administrator’s (meaning me) computer couldn’t recognize. The chat window looked something like this:
Cyber Chat: Admin 02 PC: 00
g00gle_240394: What are you doing?
I supposed some smart guy had changed the settings of his computer. If that person had been able to change the standard username, which should be something like “User PC 01”, then he would be smart enough to change the standard settings of his computer. To make sure I answered: “I c u changed the settings of ur computer, but who is dumb enough 2 send a message 2 the administrator after doing it? I noticed bc u did, please put everything the way it was, thanks”.
He took a couple seconds to write back, but when he did he just apologized and didn’t write again. I didn’t knew who had done it, even though I checked all the computers. I just wasn’t able to find any sent messages. Maybe it was someone stealing our signal. I was only one of the managers, so I couldn’t do much. When I ran into the owner before closing time, I told him what had happened, he answered that he would check it and I went home. The next day he told me there was no signal stealer, since the only way to connect to the network was throught the Ethernet cable; he even refreshed my memory by saying that we had deactivated the wi-fi signal, given that many other businesses from the block were stealing it, making it slow. I didn’t say anything, but I kept doubting.
Some days went by and I had already forgotten what had happened, but that user came back one evening, asking the same question. This time I didn’t answer and I decided to show my boss the message so we could figure out where it came from. Around 20 minutes had passed when the user g00gle_240394 went offline. At that moment, my boss came into the cybercafé and I asked him to see the screen; what I showed him was a chat window with no computer selected and empty, completely empty. He asked me the reason why I had shown him that, but I only managed to say: “Wow I’m very distracted, I must have closed it. Forget it, it was nothing…”.
That day I felt like a fool and thought the best for me would be to discover that guy myself. I got home and downloaded a software to locate computers all around the world. A lot of days went by without him showing up. I had already installed the application on the administrator’s computer.
Then one day g00gle_240394 came back with the same question. I searched for the app immediately and realized it wasn’t where I left it, no shortcut nor disc files; I didn’t stop there, I thought maybe my boss had deleted it, he usually did that without telling me every time I downloaded something, no justification. I searched it on the internet but when I was downloading it the guy went offline… only this time he said the following before leaving:
g00gle_240394: If you want to know where I am so bad, why don’t you ask?
Apparently, somehow he knew I wanted to track him. The file finished downloading and I started tracking the origin of the message, but when I was about to finish the window became blank just like the last time and the app sent “Error” as a result. I didn’t give up and saved it in a USB, that way I wouldn’t lose the program again.
He wrote again next day. He knew how the application worked, so I decided to distract him while it finished searching. He made the exact same question:
g00gle_240394: What are you doing?
Admin 02 PC: Working, how bout u??
g00gle_240394: Interesting. Do you work at a cybercafé?
Admin 02 PC: How do u know??g00gle_240394: You have internet, you’re connected all day. If you were at an office, you couldn’t have web access so constantly. Do you think I’m spying on you?
Admin 02 PC: Nah, I’m curious. How bout u? U havnt answered yet.
The program was about to end, when he said the following:
g00gle_240394: Nothing… Hey, I’m sorry. I gotta go. But if you get bored, or still want to know where I am, check this link: http://archives/map/register_ssxa44a2gghdfg12/g00gle_240394
The program returned “Error” again, but, apparently, either the guy was dumb or he wanted to play with me, maybe confuse me. I clicked on the link out of curiosity, and because I guessed that my attempts to locate him would keep failing. My surprise wasn’t much, the link led to a picture of the street where the cybercafé is located, but it looked kind of different. I thought he could have modified it, or it was the same street before I knew it. When my boss came to close, I thought of showing him the picture, but I couldn’t find it; I searched my browser history without success. My boss didn’t say anything, he just looked at me, confused by my behavior.The other day, right after my boss left, g00gle_240394 started chatting with me. This time I tried to get some answers.g00gle_240394: Hey buddy, how’s your day?
Admin 02 PC: Its barely starting, right here, according to the picture you sent yesterdaty. It’s just…
Before I could finish writing, he sent a message:
g00gle_240394: 9 o’clock
Admin 02 PC: ¿?
g00gle_240394: It’s 9, 9:03 AM to be exact
Admin 02 PC: Well my watch says its 9, but theyre just minutes apart.
g00gle_240394: And what if it was more than that?
Admin 02 PC: What do u mean?
g00gle_240394: Remember the picture? I think you won’t be able to work here much longer
Admin 02 PC: Do u mean u come from the future?
g00gle_240394: That’s a way to say it
Admin 02 PC: What’s ur real name??
Admin 02 PC: Yeah, and my name’s Wikipedia hahaha
g00gle_240394: No, your real name is William, but you prefer to be called Dracko