"Kit, what are you lookin’ at?"
"Just some old pictures, grandpa. See?"
"Oh good Lord. Where’d you find those pics, son?"
"On an old flashdrive."
"How’d the hell you access it? That’s deadtech. Totally inorganic."
"I found an old tablet at the junk shop in town. Mister Ross gave me a real good deal on it."
"What you doin’ messin’ around with deadtech, Kit? I thought kids these days were all into them squid lookin’ things they walk aroun’ with on their heads."
"I don’t like usin’ the squid."
"It always leave a bad taste in my mouth when I take it off."
"So you’d rather mess around with PreBio tech?"
"Sure. It’s cool. Kind of retro."
"A lot of my friends are into it too."
"Is that a fact. Well, will wonders never cease."
"Grandpa, can I ask you something?"
"I reckon so."
"What was the Internet really like? We hear all kinds of stories ‘n stuff, but. . . ."
"Well, Kit, to be honest, it was mostly used for porn ‘n e-mail."
"So, it was sorta like the hivemind."
"I don’t rightly know, since I never used a squid."
"Wow. That’s . . . . Wow."
"Heh. Finally impressed you with somethin’, eh grandson?"
"Even mom and dad use the squids."
"I know. I seen ‘em, sittin’ on the couch, holdin’ hands with them things on their heads. They look like a right couple a fools, if you ask me."
"You all right, Kit? You look like you sat on a tack."
"I’m fine, grandpa. Just realized what time it was. I have to go now."
"All right, son. You say howdy to your folks for me and be careful out there. All right?"
* * * * *
Kit opened his eyes to the all-too familiar sensation of menemopede footsteps tickling his spine. He turned his head and saw an attendant scoop the creature up and wrap it around his neck like a fat scarf.
"Enjoy your visit?" asked the man.
"Yeah," said Kit. He sat up and the attendant passed him his shirt. "I wish I could stay longer."
"Sorry but everybody comes to the Archive on the weekend. And we only have so many mnemopedes to go around."
"I know," sighed Kit. "I wish grandpa didn’t have to live here."
"Happens to everybody eventually," said the attendant, shrugging. "Our bodies wear out and we wind up archiving our minds. It’s better than the alternative."
"Yes," said the attendant. "You know about death?"
"I’ve read about it, but I don’t know anybody who’s actually done it."
"And that’s a good thing," said the attendant, smiling.
Kit shrugged and walked out of the Archive.
He’d stop by Mr. Ross’s store on the way home. Maybe he’d find something else really cool to show grandpa the next time he went to visit.
Grinning in anticipation, Kit ran all the way to the store.