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I swallowed involuntarily and the little red sugar-coated morsel went down fast. I chased it with a sip of Connemara. This might have been where things started to unravel.
For a start, the thing I'd been browsing turned into another thing. Apparently people who'd been looking at my thing also bought the other thing. Would I like both things together? If I said yes and accepted a lifetime subscription to Super Wonderful Services I could have both for free as part of a package to access a million different streams of really great content and entertainment designed to make me happy and more fulfilled in life.
The screen started to blur. Voices chanted 'Do it! Do it!' and there was a powerful hypnotic whine coming through the speakers. Maybe I wanted to refine my choices based on the content I'd been accessing? My mouth felt glued together as I tried to scream 'Nooo' and I found myself trying to push the mouse through molasses. My wife's a teacher, we have young nieces and nephews. I don't need Elmer's First Colouring Book to become part of my lifestyle choices, let alone Lady Gaga perfume and, Saints Preserve Us, One Direction albums. Too late, Elmer's there, exhorting me to sign up for my exclusive preview of SWS and enjoy discounted access to films, ebooks, free shipping and more.
Try it and you can have this thing you really want. Click here to find out what it is. I'm trying to stop myself but the CLICK button is throbbing insistently and there's no button for 'NO'. A counter starts 5; 4; 3; 2; I'm trying to find the off switch but it's too late. 1! Congratulations, you now have a subscription to SWS and two extra family members have just been notified their kidneys are subject to donation.
Overwhelmed, I fall backwards off my chair, ripping the cord from the laptop but the screen's still on, downloading movies I'm going to love and pushing books I'll appreciate more than anything else in the world. I black out briefly.
The Niece from Hell is standing over me as my eyes flutter open. 'Why are you being strange again?'
I point my finger at her accusingly. 'You're taking LSD! You left one here on the desktop! A red pill!'
'That?' The contempt is icy. 'That was an M&M. Would you ever stop stealing my chocolate?'
She turns on her heel, leaving me lying on the floor amongst the carnage. The screen is glowing with a comforting blue aura, Elmer mouthing the words 'Great Choice' and coruscating slowly as the hard disk light flickers, content downloading in a stream of algorithmically selected stuff I don't want, need or understand...