May 5, 2015: Big Brother in Love

Even though the pictures are grainy, you can tell she’s beautiful.

Her image flickers across the wall of screens.
Her photo litters the streets and telephone poles.
Her face is now the face of everyone’s social media accounts.

I’ve spent weeks trying to find her, find her name, contact her.
I’m drowning in a sea of her face and I can’t even call out to her for help.

The billboards in Times Square have been turned into giant effigies.
Her face towers over the tourists, giving them a simple smile.
If you stare at the photograph long enough, you realize she didn’t know the picture was being taken.
A candid, but creepy, moment in time captured and now emblazoned on the world.

People are beginning to worship her.
Others just roll their eyes.
Computer experts and hackers are trying to find the source of the outbreak.

She’s become a virus.

Text messages ring out with pictures of her. Emails over flow.
In this digital age you can’t escape her.

I sat for hours in a hot room with a team of hackers, tracing each posting and upload, back and back, further and further trying to find the beginning. Hoping to contain whatever was happening.
They followed the code, comments, reblogs, looking for the earliest date.

Then it happened.
They found the source, the carrier of the virus, the reason for this take over.
A security camera outside an abandoned building.
They hacked into its memory.
It hadn’t recording anything in years.
Then, for half a second, it turns on and captures the woman.
It zoomed in on her face, catching that smile that is capturing the hearts of every one with access to a screen.

The hackers cannot find the woman.
Every time they run the photo through any kind of recognition software it brings up everyone. Every single person.

I wonder if she has seen herself. What she thinks.
What she might have been smiling at.
If it really was a smile.

The screens in Times Square flicker. Go black.
Then her picture appears again.
It’s a different picture.
Definitely the same woman, but taken on a different day. Or at least a different time.

The hackers are back at work, tracing whatever they trace.
The only thing they can agree on is the camera’s are acting autonomously.
Big Brother has fallen in love with the whole world forced to watch.

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