The Haunting of Elon Musk
~ a short story (fiction / parody / satire / *all in Minecraft* / false / not real)
Elon stepped out of Twitter headquarters to the sight of losers and sounds of yelping nonsense. A horde of reporters awaiting him. Media parasites…
“What are you planning to do about the threat of bankruptcy?” shouted one woman reporter over several others, all jostling for first. Camera eyes, smartphones, and microphones big and small crowded the headspace. Millennial bloggers and VICE investigators barked like jackals alongside traditional CNN squares and Bloomberg bugmen. Looking at them, hearing them demand his attention, it made his head hurt.
“Voicemail Time,” droned a stony voice. Ducking below, Elon put his phone to his ear like a shield. He walked by in a hurry. The din of questions continued as the media crews followed the Chief Executive Officer to the edge of 10th Street.
The day was sunny in San Francisco. Friday afternoon. Perfect for a drive. Elon picked up his pace and began to input a sequence of numbers into his smartwatch. A small buzz made his finger recoil. Static? Car coming around now, Elon double-timed away from the hungry-eyed press. The first voicemail aired in his ear:
“Hey Elon, did you read all of my email? Based on your response… Elon, there are important legal — ”
“Next!” barked a hoarse voice into the receiver, instantly clipping off whatever his lead lawyer had to say next. Elon walked along the intersection, watched down Mission Street with expectation. Most of the media had held up, no longer following him. All save for one young man in an ill-fitting suit. He paced him from two steps back.
Elon glanced at his phone’s dashboard. Frantic messages from the Twitter team flooded his inbox; the Tesla board wanted an immediate impromptu meeting. Some SpaceX managers texted back with a mix of confusion and vitriol about the firings he’d requested.
Elon ignored them all; it was Voicemail Time.
The next voicemail came on, in a foreign language,
“埃隆，你似乎不明白。 让我说清楚…” spoke a trailing voice.
“Mister Elon!” shouted the young reporter, running ahead onto the street with stars in his eyes. “Mister Elon, could I — ”
“STOP!” roared Elon at both the ominous voice on the phone and the weird-looking boy chasing him down. It all came at once, and then silence. On the edge of Mission Street, a pair of bright blue headlights shined onto the ankles of young Carl Meadows’ sneakers, stilled by the command of his mark. Red tie and black suit off the shelf, Carl wrote for Young Con, short for “Young Conservatives,” and understood his reader base looked up to this man. He just had to get a good quote!
The over-eager student reporter, however, forgot everything that had brought him into the street. He now looked back at the windshield of a gleaming Tesla. One wheel on the curb, the vehicle was still in drive. Crimson in color, custom interiors visible. It made no sound and had stopped about a foot from his left Achilles tendon. There was no driver.
Carl’s stomach turned. He took a deep breath and fell back a step. Elon pocketed his phone and walked around to the side of his car.
Confused, Carl watched Mr. Elon get into the passenger seat. He dropped his mic somewhere in his run and so couldn’t ask a final question. Though he couldn’t remember the one he’d had in his head since this morning, waiting for the embattled executive to emerge before the media pit to ask it. Their eyes never met again.
The car backed out, Elon put his phone away. He was bored with “homework.” No more voicemails, no more tasks. One last note:
“Reminder to meet with Safety Div about child detection status,” he spoke into the phone.
Autopilot wheeled away from Twitter HQ and through the remainder of downtown traffic. Perfect Autopilot, one-of-a-kind. He could sleep with fully tinted windows on an 8-hour interstate trip. And he often did. Elon directed his supercar to make it “Home” post-haste. Nestled into the passenger seat, Elon Time was soon to begin.
An ungodly sound emerged from the car speakers.
Screams, dozens of screams.
An entire matrix of suffering voices calling together…
Louder and louder and then snuffed to silence.
Then repeated, even louder.
Elon screamed back.
“Quiet with these screams of the damned!”
All at once, the voices disappeared. The radio resumed its low din of autoplaying lite EDM. Elon rocked forward, winded and sweating. His eye fell to the radio with concern; soundlessly, the Perfect Autopilot weaved through the 5-lane highway in the 70s.
“A bug,” Elon scoffed. He looked out the window. Black streams began to fall down the windshield. Red. Crimson. Rotating his view, he saw the blood everywhere, coming down in streaks from the hood. Autopilot continued to race through honking cars. Scores of blackened hands came from inside the flowing blood and slapped against the glass, scratching with burnt nails. A hollow wailing began to ring out from the surround-sound speakers. The glass strained under the pressure of the grasping unlife…
“Mute! And go faster!” Elon groaned at the console, holding his head by his ears and shaking it vigorously.
A loose flow of traffic around them allowed the Autopilot to weave, or “shake-and-bake” by coasting behind commuters and Amazon drivers. They sped past it all into a clearing.
A moment passed, and when Elon opened his eyes again, the windows were no longer wet with blood, or cracking, or anything else. He recognized the roadside view. The path home lay ahead of two more exits. All an illusion?
But the console was frozen, then beeping. Strange images appeared there, closer to photos than any artist rendition. A skull. Eyes. Flaming heart. Bodies burned or flattened, dismembered. Blood and fire. Cavernous darkness, many skulls…
Elon slammed his eyes shut against the macabre set of visions, and the screen flickered into digitized nonsense.
Elon opened his eyes again. “Am I being hacked?” he asked in the clueless silence of his self-driving car.
They glided at 64 miles per hour into a standstill.
“Slow down,” Elon commanded.
The console shivered, blank and unlistening, as the crimson sedan raced toward the red lights of bumpers.
No slowing, crash was imminent.
“Fly!!” Elon screeched at last.
Special engines, deep within the infrastructure of the vehicle, animated to life. Just in time to avoid a scratch, Perfect Autopilot: Flight raised the vehicle off the pavement of the middle lane and into the sky.
Soon high above the traffic on the ramping highway, Elon’s super-supercar glided among the clouds. Dusk fell across the Golden City. Peace returned to Elon’s abode as the drivers below gawked at something they’d never seen before.
Gorgeous. Elon looked upon the city. A victorious smile crept across his lips. He looked into his own eyes in the rearview.
“A small army of honking maniacs below, and … me, above. Heh.”
Elon made sure to only ever fly in his private lands and compounds, so as to not reveal the efficacy of this tech to the public until it was ready. But the cat was out of the bag now. Nevertheless, Elon intended to have a fine Friday flight.
“Let them watch!” he cackled in the passenger seat, looking down at the crisscrossing standstills of metallic insects in the lanes below.
“Insect with wings beats one without.”
A discordant dirge shuddered the cabin of the Tesla. Inhuman and blistering, it sounded unlike anything yet. A small, computerized voice chimed aloud from the console, becoming weaker with every word spoken:
“Critical update missing. Good-bye.”
A blue screen of death flashed into place there on the console and did not change again.
Elon’s stomach lurched upward as gravity reassumed control of his car.
Over the dusky skies of a San Franciscan Friday, Icarus wept.
It was a scene watched by those commuters and the forlorn salarymen in the surrounding ‘scrapers catching a glimpse away from their screen.
Angel becomes brick.
Crimson sun rays gleamed off the beautiful brick as it descended from the clouds. It fell like a brick and responded to the driver’s screams like a brick. It did the only thing a brick could do: return to the earth. ~