Joe Blow from Accounting (Season 1)

By @Sombience

Joe Blow from Accounting (Season 1)

By @Sombience

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Joe stared at his front door. He was quite aware of the fact that he received a notification stating he invited in a “unique guest” without ever leaving his couch.

Joe decided not to move.

A moment passed. Joe heard nothing from the door. Joe remained silent, and listened.

“Ahem ahem.” Joe heard a female voice he didn’t recognize clear her throat from the other side of his door. Joe did not breathe.

Silence.

Footsteps. Walking away from his door.

Another moment passed. Joe exhaled. “Who was she? Why would I have invited her in?” he thought.

Buzz.

“Visitors denied entry into home +1; now at 43 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”

“Wait a minute,” Joe thought as he saw the notification. He brought up the app and searched for “unique visitors”… the stat read 6.

It had reduced by 1. It had changed. Joe did the opposite of what the notification stated, and it had reverted.

Joe’s mind began to spin. “Could these actions be reversed? Is there a window of opportunity for each action in which to… change the future? Could my coworker’s life have been saved?”

Buzz. Low phone battery. Joe plugged in his charger, then noticed the email app still loaded in his phone ram. He brought it up and continued composing his email to nofate. He explained precisely what had happened at his work; the meeting, the murder notification and following death, then the visitor at his front door only minutes before. He also put forth his theory about the “window” of opportunity and the possibility of harnessing that window…

Buzz.

“Emails sent +1; now at 2384 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”

Joe finally got some sleep that night.

The next morning, Joe woke up to find two notifications: one stating he slept (which he actually found comforting), and one showing a reply from nofate.

“wow! your experience tops mine! the weirdest one i got was right after leaving a store with my son, it said theft +1, then i saw my son playing with a new toy i did not buy! scared me to death! your theory is fascinating, what do you think this all means? did someone make this app? who??? and how?”

Joe wished he knew. It had given him nothing but grief thus far.

nofate also addressed the privacy aspect. There would indeed have to be serious surveilance going on to enable this near-perfect level of passive tracking. As far as Joe knew, he was nobody. Nothing too interesting about him, nothing to hide other than what the app pinged his phone with daily. Phrases such as “social experiment” and “divine intervention” came into his mind. His stomach growled.

Joe peered through his door’s peep hole. No strange people clearing their throats. He chanced going outside.

Burger sliders. Joe most definitely missed his noms. Buzz. Meal completed. Joe cleaned up his table and went back outside.

The world looked different to him. It looked the same, yet felt more… volatile. He glanced at a passerby and wondered what notifications an interaction with him would eventually spawn.

Joe also wondered what he could change, if allowed the window. He decided to try testing his window theory.

There was a park nearby, with some young teens playing a basketball game on a court. He walked to a bench on the edge of the court, sat down, and began to observe. There was a lone basketball near to him not being used. His phone buzzed.

“Physical games initiated +1; now at 4 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”

“Now how did I know something like this would happen,” Joe thought. Again, he stayed where he was.

Moments passed. A group of three kids entered the park, saw the basketball near to him, ran over to grab it and started a game of H.O.R.S.E.

Joe checked the app. “Physical games initiated: 3”.

“Hot ****,” Joe thought. So far it’s been easy. Stand fast and the outcome changes. (No notifications for reversals, he also noted.) Joe knew very well though that in the case of his late coworker, doing nothing proved to be fatal.

He brought up his email to contact nofate about his latest test. Buzz, email sent +1. He decided to power cycle his phone and dropped it in his pocket. Time to go home.

Halfway home, he felt his phone buzz. “Stats has been updated.”

Joe’s eyebrows raised. “An update?” He brought up the app. He noticed the initial loading screen with the large heart monitor line pulsating in colour; the screen hadn’t appeared in days since the app first appeared on his phone. The app eventually loaded, and after hitting the View Your Stats button, Joe noticed a new icon of simply three vertical dots, next to the search icon. “Settings? Is this for real?” Joe thought.

Joe hit the icon.

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