FRATE PETI
1. Scola · 2. Esplode · 3. Aresta · 4. Prison · 5. Paranoia · 6. Rede X · 7. Spleno-Porco · 8. Paradox · 9. Furgon · 10. Claves · 11. Slogan
12. Conserta · 13. Jornales · 14. Bitnic · 15. Enrolada · 16. Reportor · 17. Tuneli · 18. Juas · 19. Vampires · 20. Tortura · 21. Judi · Epilogo

5. Paranoia

Mostra ance la testo orijinal

Ma los ia es de Van, e el ia plora, abrasante me en modo tan forte ce me no ia pote respira. Esta no ia importa. Me ia abrasa ance el, con fas presada a sua capeles.

But it was Van, and she was crying, and hugging me so hard I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t care. I hugged her back, my face buried in her hair.

“Tu es oce!” el ia dise.

“You’re OK!” she said.

“Me es oce.” – me ia susede dise.

“I’m OK,” I managed.

El ia relasa final me e un plu duple de brasos ia ensirca me. Esta ia es Jolu! Ambos ia es ala. El ia xuxa – “Tu es secur, ami.” – en mea orea e ia dona un abrasa an plu forte ca lo de Vanessa.

She finally let go of me and another set of arms wrapped themselves around me. It was Jolu! They were both there. He whispered, “You’re safe, bro,” in my ear and hugged me even tighter than Vanessa had.

Cuando el ia relasa me, me ia regarda a sirca. “Do es Darryl?” – me ia demanda.

When he let go, I looked around. “Where’s Darryl?” I asked.

Ambos ia regarda lunlotra. “Cisa el es ancora en la camion.” – Jolu ia dise.

They both looked at each other. “Maybe he’s still in the truck,” Jolu said.

Nos ia turna e ia regarda la camion a la fini de la stradeta. Lo ia es blanca e blanda con 18 rotas. Algun ia trae ja la peti scalera pliable a en. La lampas retro ia brilia roja, e la camion ia rola a retro a nos, emetente un ritmo de ip, ip, ip.

We turned and looked at the truck at the alley’s end. It was a nondescript white 18-wheeler. Someone had already brought the little folding staircase inside. The rear lights glowed red, and the truck rolled backwards towards us, emitting a steady eep, eep, eep.

“Para!” – me ia cria en cuando lo ia aselera a nos. “Para! Como de Darryl?” La camion ia prosimi. Me ia continua cria. “Como de Darryl?”

“Wait!” I shouted as it accelerated towards us. “Wait! What about Darryl?” The truck drew closer. I kept shouting. “What about Darryl?”

Cada de Jolu e Vanessa ia es teninte me par un braso e tirante me a via. Me ia luta contra los, criante. La camion ia estrae se de la boca de la stradeta, reversante a sur la strada, e ia dirije se a su e ia vade a via. Me ia atenta core pos lo, ma Van e Jolu no ia relasa me.

Jolu and Vanessa each had me by an arm and were dragging me away. I struggled against them, shouting. The truck pulled out of the alley’s mouth and reversed into the street and pointed itself downhill and drove away. I tried to run after it, but Van and Jolu wouldn’t let me go.

Me ia senta me sur la troteria e ia pone mea brasos sirca mea jenos e ia plora. Me ia plora e plora e plora, en tal sanglotas forte como me no ia fa de cuando me ia es un enfante peti. Los ia refusa sesa sona. Me no ia pote sesa trema.

I sat down on the sidewalk and put my arms around my knees and cried. I cried and cried and cried, loud sobs of the sort I hadn’t done since I was a little kid. They wouldn’t stop coming. I couldn’t stop shaking.

Vanessa e Jolu ia sta me sur mea pedes e ia move me alga longo la strada. On ia ave un parabus munisipal con un banca, e los ia senta me sur lo. Ambos los ia es plorante ance, e nos ia teni lunlotra per un tempo, e me ia sabe ce nos plora per Darryl, ci nun de nos ia espeta vide denova.

Vanessa and Jolu got me to my feet and moved me a little ways up the street. There was a Muni bus stop with a bench and they sat me on it. They were both crying too, and we held each other for a while, and I knew we were crying for Darryl, whom none of us ever expected to see again.


Nos ia es a norde de la distrito xines, a la parte do lo comensa deveni Plaia Norde, un rejion con un colie de striptiserias de neon e la libreria lejendin contracultural City Lights, do la promove poesial de la bitnices ia es fundida en la desenio de 1950.

We were north of Chinatown, at the part where it starts to become North Beach, a neighborhood with a bunch of neon strip clubs and the legendary City Lights counterculture bookstore, where the Beat poetry movement had been founded back in the 1950s.

Me ia conose bon esta parte de la urbe. La restorante italian favoreda de mea jenitores ia es asi, e los ia gusta gida me a lo per platos grande de linguine e montes jigante de crema jelada italian con figas confetida e peti espresos savaje a pos.

I knew this part of town well. My parents’ favorite Italian restaurant was here and they liked to take me here for big plates of linguine and huge Italian ice-cream mountains with candied figs and lethal little espressos afterward.

Aora lo ia es un loca diferente, un loca do me ia proba libria a la ves prima en un tempo cual ia pare eterna.

Now it was a different place, a place where I was tasting freedom for the first time in what seemed like an eternity.

Nos ia esplora nosa poxes e ia trova mone sufisinte per prende un table a un de la restorantes italian, a estra sur la troteria, su un covrente. La fem bela servinte ia ativi un caldador de gas con un ensendador de barbecu, ia nota nosa comandas e ia vade a en. La senti de dona comandas, de controla mea destina, ia es la cosa la plu stonante cual me ia esperia de sempre.

We checked our pockets and found enough money to get a table at one of the Italian restaurants, out on the sidewalk, under an awning. The pretty waitress lighted a gas-heater with a barbeque lighter, took our orders and went inside. The sensation of giving orders, of controlling my destiny, was the most amazing thing I’d ever felt.

“Tra cuanto tempo nos ia es ala?” – me ia demanda.

“How long were we in there?” I asked.

“Ses dias.” – Vanessa ia dise.

“Six days,” Vanessa said.

“Me ia pensa ce sinco.” – Jolu ia dise.

“I got five,” Jolu said.

“Me no ia conta.”

“I didn’t count.”

“Cual los ia fa a tu?” – Vanessa ia dise. Me no ia desira parla sur lo, ma ambos los ia regarda me. Cuando me ia comensa, me no ia pote sesa. Me ia dise tota a los, an ce me ia es obligada a pisi sur me, e los ia escuta tota en silentia. Me ia pausa cuando la servor ia trae nosa sodas e ia espeta asta cuando el ia es estra la campo de oia, e ia fini alora. Par deveni racontada, lo ia retrosede a la distantia. A la fini de lo, me no ia pote ja dise esce me brode la fatos o esce me fa ce tota de lo pare min mal. Mea memorias ia nada como pexes peti cual me ia atenta saisi, e a veses los ia serpe de mea mano.

“What did they do to you?” Vanessa said. I didn’t want to talk about it, but they were both looking at me. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I told them everything, even when I’d been forced to piss myself, and they took it all in silently. I paused when the waitress delivered our sodas and waited until she got out of earshot, then finished. In the telling, it receded into the distance. By the end of it, I couldn’t tell if I was embroidering the truth or if I was making it all seem less bad. My memories swam like little fish that I snatched at, and sometimes they wriggled out of my grasp.

Jolu ia secute sua testa. “Los ia es sever contra tu, xic’.” – el ia dise. El ia informa nos sur sua tempo ala. Los ia interoga el, xef sur me, e el ia continua dise a los la vera, restante a un raconta simple de la fatos sur acel dia e sur nosa amia. Los ia obliga el a repete lo, denova e denova, ma los no ia fa juas per manipula sua mente como los ia fa a me. El ia prende sua comes en un comeria con un colie de otra persones, e ia spende tempo en un sala de televide do on ia mostra videos de la filmas susedosa de la anio pasada.

Jolu shook his head. “They were hard on you, dude,” he said. He told us about his stay there. They’d questioned him, mostly about me, and he’d kept on telling them the truth, sticking to a plain telling of the facts about that day and about our friendship. They had gotten him to repeat it over and over again, but they hadn’t played games with his head the way they had with me. He’d eaten his meals in a mess-hall with a bunch of other people, and been given time in a TV room where they were shown last year’s blockbusters on video.

La raconta de Vanessa ia es sola pico diferente. Pos cuando el ia coleri los par parla a me, los ia prende sua vestes a via e ia obliga el a porta un covretota orania de prison. El ia es lasada en sua selula per du dias sin contata, an si el ia reseta comes periodal.

Vanessa’s story was only slightly different. After she’d gotten them angry by talking to me, they’d taken away her clothes and made her wear a set of orange prison overalls. She’d been left in her cell for two days without contact, though she’d been fed regularly. But mostly it was the same as Jolu: the same questions, repeated again and again.

“Los ia odia vera tu,” – Jolu ia dise – “ia vole vera ce tu sufri. Perce?”

“They really hated you,” Jolu said. “Really had it in for you. Why?”

Me no ia pote imajina perce. Alora me ia recorda.

I couldn’t imagine why. Then I remembered.

Tu pote coopera, o tu pote regrete vera multe.

You can cooperate, or you can be very, very sorry.

“Lo ia es car me ia refusa desclavi mea telefon per los, a acel note prima. Per esta razona los ia eleje me.” Me no ia pote crede lo, ma on ia ave no otra esplica. Lo ia es la venjosia, mera. Mea mente ia bambola a la pensa. Los ia fa tota acel como mera un puni contra mea defia de sua autoria.

“It was because I wouldn’t unlock my phone for them, that first night. That’s why they singled me out.” I couldn’t believe it, but there was no other explanation. It had been sheer vindictiveness. My mind reeled at the thought. They had done all that as a mere punishment for defying their authority.

A ante me ia es asustada. Aora me ia es coler. “Acel bastardos.” – me ia dise, cuieta. – “Los ia fa acel per venja contra mea desrespeta.”

I had been scared. Now I was angry. “Those bastards,” I said, softly. “They did it to get back at me for mouthing off.”

Jolu ia blasfema e alora Vanessa ia desfreni se en corean, un cosa cual el fa sola cuando el es vera multe coler.

Jolu swore and then Vanessa cut loose in Korean, something she only did when she was really, really angry.

“Me va puni los.” – me ia xuxa, fisante un regarda a mea soda. “Me va puni los.”

“I’m going to get them,” I whispered, staring at my soda. “I’m going to get them.”

Jolu ia nega con sua testa. “Tu no pote, sabe. Tu no pote contrataca acel.”

Jolu shook his head. “You can’t, you know. You can’t fight back against that.”


Nun de nos ia desira multe parla sur venja alora. En loca, nos ia parla sur lo cual nos va fa aora. Nos ia debe vade a casa. La pilas de nosa telefones ia es mor e ja tra anios esta distrito ia ave no telefones publica. Nos ia nesesa sola vade a casa. Me ia pensa an a usa un taxi, ma on no ia ave mone sufisinte entre nos per posibli lo.

None of us much wanted to talk about revenge then. Instead, we talked about what we would do next. We had to go home. Our phones’ batteries were dead and it had been years since this neighborhood had any payphones. We just needed to go home. I even thought about taking a taxi, but there wasn’t enough money between us to make that possible.

Donce nos ia pasea. A la canto, nos ia puxa alga cuatrimes en un caxa de jornales Cronolojia de San Francisco e ia pausa per leje la sesion prima. Sinco dias ia pasa pos la esplode de la bombas, ma esta ia covre ancora la paje fronte.

So we walked. On the corner, we pumped some quarters into a San Francisco Chronicle newspaper box and stopped to read the front section. It had been five days since the bombs went off, but it was still all over the front cover.

Fem de Capeles Sever ia refere a la esplode de “la ponte”, e me ia suposa simple ce el refere a la Ponte Porton Dorada, ma me ia era. La teroristes ia esplode la Ponte Baia.

Severe haircut woman had talked about “the bridge” blowing up, and I’d just assumed that she was talking about the Golden Gate bridge, but I was wrong. The terrorists had blown up the Bay bridge.

“Perce de enferno los ta esplode la Ponte Baia?” – me ia dise. “La Porton Dorada es la ponte sur tota la cartas postal.” An si tu ia es nunca en San Francisco, probable tu sabe como la Porton Dorada aspeta: lo es acel ponte suspendeda, grande e orania, cual estende dramosa de la base militar vea nomida la Presidio asta Sausalito, do on ave tota la vilas beleta de la rejion de vinos con sua botecas de candelas parfumida e galerias de arte. Lo es stonante depintin, e lo es cuasi la simbol per la stato California. Si on visita la parce de aventura Disneyland California, on vide un copia de lo direta pos la portones, traversada par un monorel.

“Why the hell would they blow up the Bay Bridge?” I said. “The Golden Gate is the one on all the postcards.” Even if you’ve never been to San Francisco, chances are you know what the Golden Gate looks like: it’s that big orange suspension bridge that swoops dramatically from the old military base called the Presidio to Sausalito, where all the cutesy wine-country towns are with their scented candle shops and art galleries. It’s picturesque as hell, and it’s practically the symbol for the state of California. If you go to the Disneyland California Adventure park, there’s a replica of it just past the gates, with a monorail running over it.

Donce natural me ia suposa ce si on ta esplode un ponte en San Francisco, acel es lo cual on ta esplode.

So naturally I assumed that if you were going to blow up a bridge in San Francisco, that’s the one you’d blow.

“Probable los ia es asustada par tota la cameras e simil.” – Jolu ia dise. “La Garda Nasional esamina sempre autos a ambos finis, e lo ave acel paradores antisuisidal e simil longo se.” Persones ia salta de la Porton Dorada ja de cuando lo ia abri en 1937 – on ia sesa conta pos la suiside mil en 1995.

“They probably got scared off by all the cameras and stuff,” Jolu said. “The National Guard’s always checking cars at both ends and there’s all those suicide fences and junk all along it.” People have been jumping off the Golden Gate since it opened in 1937 – they stopped counting after the thousandth suicide in 1995.

“Si.” – Vanessa ia dise. “Plu, la Ponte Baia gida vera a alga loca.” La Ponte Baia vade de la sentro de San Francisco asta Oakland e de ala a Berkeley e la vilas de Baia Este abitada par multe de la persones ci vive e labora en la urbe. Lo es un de la sola partes de la Rejion Baia do un person normal pote compra un casa tan grande ce el pote vera estende se, e on ave ance la universia e multe industria lejera a acel lado. La metro vade su la Baia e lia la du sites, ance, ma la Ponte Baia reseta la plu de la trafica. La Porton Dorada ia es un bon ponte per turistes o jubilores rica ci abita distante en la rejion de vinos, ma lo ia es xef ornal. La Ponte Baia es – ia es – la cavalo de carga entre la pontes de San Francisco.

“Yeah,” Vanessa said. “Plus the Bay Bridge actually goes somewhere.” The Bay Bridge goes from downtown San Francisco to Oakland and thence to Berkeley, the East Bay townships that are home to many of the people who live and work in town. It’s one of the only parts of the Bay Area where a normal person can afford a house big enough to really stretch out in, and there’s also the university and a bunch of light industry over there. The BART goes under the Bay and connects the two cities, too, but it’s the Bay Bridge that sees most of the traffic. The Golden Gate was a nice bridge if you were a tourist or a rich retiree living out in wine country, but it was mostly ornamental. The Bay Bridge is – was – San Francisco’s work-horse bridge.

Me ia considera lo per un minuto. “Vos es coreta,” – me ia dise – “ma me no crede ce acel es tota. Nos condui como si teroristes ataca monumentos car los odia monumentos. Teroristes no odia monumentos o pontes o aviones. Los vole mera desordina la vive e asusta la popla, crea teror. Donce natural los ia ojeti la Ponte Baia pos cuando la Porton Dorada ia reseta tota sua cameras – pos cuando aviones ia deveni plen de detetadores de metal e radiografes.” Me ia considera ancora plu, vacua regardante la autos rolante longo la strada, la persones paseante longo la troterias, la site ensircante me. “Teroristes no odia aviones o pontes. Los ama teror.” Lo ia es tan evidente ce me no ia pote crede ce me ia pensa nunca a lo a ante. Me suposa ce la esperia de es tratada como un teroriste tra alga dias ia sufisi per clari mea pensas.

I thought about it for a minute. “You guys are right,” I said. “But I don’t think that’s all of it. We keep acting like terrorists attack landmarks because they hate landmarks. Terrorists don’t hate landmarks or bridges or airplanes. They just want to screw stuff up and make people scared. To make terror. So of course they went after the Bay Bridge after the Golden Gate got all those cameras – after airplanes got all metal-detectored and X-rayed.” I thought about it some more, staring blankly at the cars rolling down the street, at the people walking down the sidewalks, at the city all around me. “Terrorists don’t hate airplanes or bridges. They love terror.” It was so obvious I couldn’t believe I’d never thought of it before. I guess that being treated like a terrorist for a few days was enough to clarify my thinking.

La otra du ia regarda intensa me. “Me razona bon, no? Tota esta caca, tota la radiografes e esaminas de identia, tota es sin valua, no?”

The other two were staring at me. “I’m right, aren’t I? All this crap, all the X-rays and ID checks, they’re all useless, aren’t they?”

Los ia acorda lenta con testa.

They nodded slowly.

“Con an min valua,” – me ia dise, con vose altinte e crepitante – “car par causa de los nos ia fini en prison, e Darryl —” Me no ia pensa a Darryl pos cuando nos ia senta nos, e aora lo ia reveni a me: mea ami, mancante, desapareda. Me ia sesa parla e ia raspa mea mandibulas contra lunlotra.

“Worse than useless,” I said, my voice going up and cracking. “Because they ended up with us in prison, with Darryl –” I hadn’t thought of Darryl since we sat down and now it came back to me, my friend, missing, disappeared. I stopped talking and ground my jaws together.

“Nos debe informa nosa jenitores.” – Jolu ia dise.

“We have to tell our parents,” Jolu said.

“Nos debe trova un avocato.” – Vanessa ia dise.

“We should get a lawyer,” Vanessa said.

Me ia pensa a raconta mea esperia. A informa la mundo sur lo cual ia aveni a me. A la videos cual ta apare sin duta, de me plorante, reduida a un animal umilida.

I thought of telling my story. Of telling the world what had become of me. Of the videos that would no doubt come out, of me weeping, reduced to a groveling animal.

“Nos pote dise no cosa a los.” – me ia dise, sin pensa.

“We can’t tell them anything,” I said, without thinking.

“Perce tal?” – Van ia dise.

“What do you mean?” Van said.

“Nos pote dise no cosa a los.” – me ia repete. “Tu ia oia el. Si nos parla, los va reveni contra nos. Los va fa a nos lo cual los ia fa a Darryl.”

“We can’t tell them anything,” I repeated. “You heard her. If we talk, they’ll come back for us. They’ll do to us what they did to Darryl.”

“Tu broma.” – Jolu ia dise. “Tu vole ce nos —”

“You’re joking,” Jolu said. “You want us to –”

“Me vole ce nos contrataca.” – me ia dise. “Me vole resta libre per pote fa lo. Si nos emerji e denunsia, los va dise simple ce nos es enfantes, inventante. Nos no sabe an do nos ia es tenida! Nun va crede nos. Plu tarda, a un dia, los va veni contra nos. Me va dise a mea jenitores ce me ia es en un de acel campas a la otra lado de la Baia. Me ia traversa per encontra vos ala, e nos ia deveni encaliada e no ia pote reveni ante oji. On ia dise en la jornales ce persones revaga ancora de ala a sua casas.”

“I want us to fight back,” I said. “I want to stay free so that I can do that. If we go out there and blab, they’ll just say that we’re kids, making it up. We don’t even know where we were held! No one will believe us. Then, one day, they’ll come for us. I’m telling my parents that I was in one of those camps on the other side of the Bay. I came over to meet you guys there and we got stranded, and just got loose today. They said in the papers that people were still wandering home from them.”

“Me no pote fa acel.” – Vanessa ia dise. “Pos lo cual on ia fa a tu, como tu pote an imajina fa acel?”

“I can’t do that,” Vanessa said. “After what they did to you, how can you even think of doing that?”

“Lo ia aveni a me: esta es la foca. Lo es un caso de me e los, aora. Me va vinse los, me va trova Darryl. Me no va aseta pasiva esta. Ma si nosa jenitores va es envolveda, acel va es la fini per nos. Nun va crede nos e nun va es interesada. Si nos segue mea idea, on va es interesada.”

“It happened to me, that’s the point. This is me and them, now. I’ll beat them, I’ll get Darryl. I’m not going to take this lying down. But once our parents are involved, that’s it for us. No one will believe us and no one will care. If we do it my way, people will care.”

“Cual es tua idea?” – Jolu ia dise. “Cual es tua scema?”

“What’s your way?” Jolu said. “What’s your plan?”

“Me ancora no sabe.” – me ia confesa. “Dona a me la tempo asta la matina de doman, dona acel, a la min.” Me ia sabe ce si los va manteni la secreta per un dia, lo va debe resta secreta per sempre. Nosa jenitores ta es an plu setica si nos ta “recorda” subita ce nos ia es tenida en un prison secreta en loca de es curada en un campa de refujadas.

“I don’t know yet,” I admitted. “Give me until tomorrow morning, give me that, at least.” I knew that once they’d kept it a secret for a day, it would have to be a secret forever. Our parents would be even more skeptical if we suddenly “remembered” that we’d been held in a secret prison instead of taken care of in a refugee camp.

Van e Jolu ia regarda lunlotra.

Van and Jolu looked at each other.

“Me demanda mera per un turno.” – me ia dise. “Nos va developa la raconta en via, ordina lo. Dona a me un dia, mera un dia.”

“I’m just asking for a chance,” I said. “We’ll work out the story on the way, get it straight. Give me one day, just one day.”

La otra du ia acorda sombre con testa e nos ia comensa denova a su, en dirije denova a casa. Me ia abita sur Colina Potrero, Vanessa ia abita en la Mision Norde e Jolu ia abita en Vale Noe – tre distritos estrema diferente a sola alga minutos de lunlotra par pede.

The other two nodded glumly and we set off downhill again, heading back towards home. I lived on Potrero Hill, Vanessa lived in the North Mission and Jolu lived in Noe Valley – three wildly different neighborhoods just a few minutes’ walk from one another.

Nos ia turna a sur Strada Mercato e ia para subita. La strada ia ave paradores a cada canto, la stradas traversante ia es reduida a un sola banda, e, parcida longo la longia intera de Strada Mercato, on ia ave camiones grande e blanda como lo cual ia porta nos, con testas en sacos, a via de la docas de barcon asta la distrito xines.

We turned onto Market Street and stopped dead. The street was barricaded at every corner, the cross-streets reduced to a single lane, and parked down the whole length of Market Street were big, nondescript 18-wheelers like the one that had carried us, hooded, away from the ship’s docks and to Chinatown.

Cada ia ave tre grados de aser desendente de la retro e los ia zumbi con ativia en cuando soldatos, persones en vestones e polisiores ia entra e sorti. La vestonidas ia porta insinias peti a sua suprapones, e la soldatos ia scane los cuando los ia entra e sorti – radioinsinias de autoria. Cuando nos ia pasea a lado de un, me ia pote regarda lo, e ia vide la logo familiar: Departe de Securia Interna. La soldato ia vide mea regarda fisada e ia refisa me con regarda, grimante a me.

Each one had three steel steps leading down from the back and they buzzed with activity as soldiers, people in suits, and cops went in and out of them. The suits wore little badges on their lapels and the soldiers scanned them as they went in and out – wireless authorization badges. As we walked past one, I got a look at it, and saw the familiar logo: Department of Homeland Security. The soldier saw me staring and stared back hard, glaring at me.

Me ia comprende la intende e ia continua move. Me ia descoli me de la gang a Bolevar Van Ness. Nos ia teni lunlotra e ia plora e ia promete telefoni a lunlotra.

I got the message and moved on. I peeled away from the gang at Van Ness. We clung to each other and cried and promised to call each other.

La repasea a Colina Potrero ave un via fasil e un via difisil, de cual la difisil traversa alga de la colinas la plu presipe en la site, tal como on vide en xasas de auto en filmas ativa, con autos saltante en vola supra la zenite. Me segue sempre la via difisil a casa. Tota ala es stradas abital, e la casas vea victorian cual on nomi “damas pintida” par causa de sua pintis tro ornosa e detaliosa, e jardines fronte con flores bonodorosa e erbas alta. Gatos de casa regarda fisada de sepes, e on ave cuasi no persones sin casa.

The walk back to Potrero Hill has an easy route and a hard route, the latter taking you over some of the steepest hills in the city, the kind of thing that you see car chases on in action movies, with cars catching air as they soar over the zenith. I always take the hard way home. It’s all residential streets, and the old Victorian houses they call “painted ladies” for their gaudy, elaborate paint-jobs, and front gardens with scented flowers and tall grasses. Housecats stare at you from hedges, and there are hardly any homeless.

Lo ia es tan cuieta sur acel stradas ce me ia regrete ce me no ia usa la otra via, tra la Mision, cual es… tumultosa es probable la parola la plu conveninte. Ruidosa e pulsante. Multe de enebriadas turbosa e cocainores coler e eroinores nonconsensa, e ance multe familias con caretas de bebe, femes vea parletante sur terazas, xasibasas con musica batente ci vade longo la stradas con “pum pa pum pa pum”. On ave dandis e studiantes emo de arte en mal umor e an un o du puncores de moda pasada, omes vea con ventrones protendente su sua camisetas de Dead Kennedys. Ance reas transvestida, xices coler de gang, artistes de grafiti, e persones burjesinte e confondeda ci atenta no deveni matada en cuando sua investis de imobila maturi.

It was so quiet on those streets that it made me wish I’d taken the other route, through the Mission, which is… raucous is probably the best word for it. Loud and vibrant. Lots of rowdy drunks and angry crack-heads and unconscious junkies, and also lots of families with strollers, old ladies gossiping on stoops, lowriders with boom-cars going thumpa-thumpa-thumpa down the streets. There were hipsters and mopey emo art-students and even a couple old-school punk-rockers, old guys with pot bellies bulging out beneath their Dead Kennedys shirts. Also drag queens, angry gang kids, graffiti artists and bewildered gentrifiers trying not to get killed while their real-estate investments matured.

Me ia asende Colina Capra e ia pasa la pizeria Colina Capra, cual ia fa ce me pensa a la prison en cual me ia es tenida, e me ia debe senta sur la banca estra la restorante asta cuando mea tremas ia sesa. Alora me ia persepi la camion alga plu alta sur la colina ca me, un blanda con 18 rotas con tre grados de aser desendente de la retro. Me ia sta e ia comensa move. Me ia sensa la oios regardante me de tota dirijes.

I went up Goat Hill and walked past Goat Hill Pizza, which made me think of the jail I’d been held in, and I had to sit down on the bench out front of the restaurant until my shakes passed. Then I noticed the truck up the hill from me, a nondescript 18-wheeler with three metal steps coming down from the back end. I got up and got moving. I felt the eyes watching me from all directions.

Me ia freta tra la resta de la via a casa. Me no ia regarda la damas pintida o la jardines o la gatos de casa. Me ia fisa mea oios a su.

I hurried the rest of the way home. I didn’t look at the painted ladies or the gardens or the housecats. I kept my eyes down.

Ambos autos de mea jenitores ia es sur la via de asede, an si lo ia es la media de la dia. Natural. Papa labora en Baia Este, donce el ia debe resta a casa tra cuando on labora a la ponte. Mama – ma bon, como on ta sabe perce Mama ia es a casa?

Both my parents’ cars were in the driveway, even though it was the middle of the day. Of course. Dad works in the East Bay, so he’d be stuck at home while they worked on the bridge. Mom – well, who knew why Mom was home.

Los ia es a casa per me.

They were home for me.

An ante cuando me ia fini desclavi la porte, lo ia es arancada de mea mano e larga abrida. Ambos mea jenitores ia es ala, con aspeta gris e fatigada, regardante me con oios protendente. Nos ia sta ala como un sena vivente fisada per un momento, e alora ambos los ia freta a ante e ia tira me a en la casa, cuasi tropezante me. Ambos ia parla tan forte e rapida ce me ia oia sola un babela rujinte sin parolas, e ambos ia abrasa me e ia plora, e me ia plora ance, e nos ia fa no plu ca sta tal ala en la atrio peti, plorante e produinte cuasiparolas asta cuando nos ia consuma nosa enerjia e ia entra a la cosina.

Even before I’d finished unlocking the door it had been jerked out of my hand and flung wide. There were both of my parents, looking gray and haggard, bug-eyed and staring at me. We stood there in frozen tableau for a moment, then they both rushed forward and dragged me into the house, nearly tripping me up. They were both talking so loud and fast all I could hear was a wordless, roaring gabble and they both hugged me and cried and I cried too and we just stood there like that in the little foyer, crying and making almost-words until we ran out of steam and went into the kitchen.

Me ia fa lo cual me fa sempre cuando me veni a casa: me ia prende un vitro de acua de la filtro en la friador e ia escava du biscotos de la “baril” cual la sore de Mama ia envia a nos de England. La normalia de esta ia sesa la marteli de mea cor, tal ce mea cor ia resincroni con mea serebro, e, pos corta, tota nos ia senta a la table.

I did what I always did when I came home: got myself a glass of water from the filter in the fridge and dug a couple cookies out of the “biscuit barrel” that mom’s sister had sent us from England. The normalcy of this made my heart stop hammering, my heart catching up with my brain, and soon we were all sitting at the table.

“Do tu ia es?” – ambos los ia dise, plu o min simultan.

“Where have you been?” they both said, more or less in unison.

Me ia pensa ja alga sur esta en via a la casa. “Me ia es trapida” – me ia dise – “en Oakland. Me ia es ala con alga amis, per fa un projeta, e on ia isoli tota nos.”

I had given this some thought on the way home. “I got trapped,” I said. “In Oakland. I was there with some friends, doing a project, and we were all quarantined.”

“Tra sinco dias?”

“For five days?”

“Si,” – me ia dise – “si. Lo ia es vera mal.” Me ia leje sur la isolis en la jornal, e me ia copia sin vergonia de la sitas cual lo ia publici. “Si, cadun ci ia es caturada en la nube. On ia pensa ce nos ia es atacada con un supramicrobio de alga spesie, e on ia paci nos en contenadores de transporta en la porto, como sardinas. Lo ia es vera calda e umida. Ance sin multe comedas.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Yeah. It was really bad.” I’d read about the quarantines in the Chronicle and I cribbed shamelessly from the quotes they’d published. “Yeah. Everyone who got caught in the cloud. They thought we had been attacked with some kind of super-bug and they packed us into shipping containers in the docklands, like sardines. It was really hot and sticky. Not much food, either.”

“Cristo.” – Papa ia dise, con manos deveninte punios sur la table. Papa ensenia en Berkeley a tre dias per semana, laborante con alga studiantes graduada en la curso de siensa bibliotecal. En la tempo restante, el consela clientes en la site e longo la Penisola, companias enlinia de la onda tre, cual fa cosas diversa con arciverias. Profesal, el es un bibliotecor moderada, ma el ia es un radisal vera en la desenio de 1960 e ia es un lutor per alga tempo a liseo. Me ia vide el en coleria demente de ves a ves – me mesma ia coleri el a tal grado de ves a ves – e el ia pote deveni profonda nonrestrinjeda cuando el ia sembla Hulk. A un ves, el ia lansa la strutur de un pendulo de Ikea a traversa de la jardin intera de mea avo cuando lo ia cade a pesos a la ves sincodes en sua asembla de lo.

“Christ,” Dad said, his fists balling up on the table. Dad teaches in Berkeley three days a week, working with a few grad students in the library science program. The rest of the time he consults for clients in the city and down the Peninsula, third-wave dotcoms that are doing various things with archives. He’s a mild-mannered librarian by profession, but he’d been a real radical in the sixties and wrestled a little in high school. I’d seen him get crazy angry now and again – I’d even made him that angry now and again – and he could seriously lose it when he was Hulking out. He once threw a swing-set from Ikea across my granddad’s whole lawn when it fell apart for the fiftieth time while he was assembling it.

“Barbares.” – Mama ia dise. El abita en la SUA ja de cuando el ia es un adolesente, ma el condui ancora completa brites cuando el encontra la polisia esuan, la aida medical, la securia de airoporto o la abita sin casa. Alora la parola es “barbares”, e sua pronunsia reveni forte. Nos ia es en London a du veses per vide sua familia, e me no pote dise ce lo ia pare plu sivilida ca San Francisco: mera plu folida.

“Barbarians,” Mom said. She’s been living in America since she was a teenager, but she still comes over all British when she encounters American cops, health-care, airport security or homelessness. Then the word is “barbarians,” and her accent comes back strong. We’d been to London twice to see her family and I can’t say as it felt any more civilized than San Francisco, just more cramped.

“Ma los ia permete ce nos parti, e ia naveti nos a traversa oji.” Me ia improvisa aora.

“But they let us go, and ferried us over today.” I was improvising now.

“Esce tu es ferida?” – Mama ia dise. “Fame?”

“Are you hurt?” Mom said. “Hungry?”

“Dormosa?”

“Sleepy?”

“Si, un pico de tota. Ance Bobo, Timida, Axu e Prof’.” Nos ia ave un tradision familial de broma sur la Sete Nanos. Ambos los ia surie alga, ma sua oios ia es ancora larmosa. Me ia compatia vera los. Sin duta, los ia deveni cuasi demente par ansia. Me ia es felis a la posible de cambia la tema. “Me ta gusta multe come.”

“Yeah, a little of all that. Also Dopey, Doc, Sneezy and Bashful.” We had a family tradition of Seven Dwarfs jokes. They both smiled a little, but their eyes were still wet. I felt really bad for them. They must have been out of their minds with worry. I was glad for a chance to change the subject. “I’d totally love to eat.”

“Me va comanda un piza de Colina Capra.” – Papa ia dise.

“I’ll order a pizza from Goat Hill,” Dad said.

“No, no acel.” – me ia dise. Ambos ia regarda me como si me ia crese antenas. Me es normal zelosa sur la pizas de Colina Capra – tal ce me pote normal come los como un pex oro prende sua comedas, devorante asta o sua consuma o mea creve. Me ia atenta surie. “Me no desira un piza, mera.” – me ia dise, nonconvinsente. “Ta ce nos comanda alga cari, si?” Grasias a la sielo ce San Francisco es la sentro per comes retirable.

“No, not that,” I said. They both looked at me like I’d sprouted antennae. I normally have a thing about Goat Hill Pizza – as in, I can normally eat it like a goldfish eats his food, gobbling until it either runs out or I pop. I tried to smile. “I just don’t feel like pizza,” I said, lamely. “Let’s order some curry, OK?” Thank heaven that San Francisco is take-out central.

Mama ia vade a la caxeta de menus de comes retirable (plu normalia, parente como un bevi de acua a un garga seca e dolosa) e ia xerca entre los. Nos ia spende alga minutos distraente en studia la menu de la loca pacistani halal sur Strada Valencia. Me ia deside per un grilida miscada tandurida e pure de spinax con ceso blanca, un lasi salida de mango (multe plu bon ca lo sona) e pesetas de pasta fritada en xirope de zucar.

Mom went to the drawer of take-out menus (more normalcy, feeling like a drink of water on a dry, sore throat) and riffled through them. We spent a couple of distracting minutes going through the menu from the halal Pakistani place on Valencia. I settled on a mixed tandoori grill and creamed spinach with farmer’s cheese, a salted mango lassi (much better than it sounds) and little fried pastries in sugar syrup.

Cuando la comeda ia es comandada, la demandas ia comensa denova. Los ia oia de la familias de Van, Jolu e Darryl (natural) e ia atenta reporta nos como mancante. La polisia ia aseta nomes, ma on ia ave tan multe “persones deslocada” ce on ia refusa abri un fix sur cualcun estra si el manca ancora pos sete dias.

Once the food was ordered, the questions started again. They’d heard from Van’s, Jolu’s and Darryl’s families (of course) and had tried to report us missing. The police were taking names, but there were so many “displaced persons” that they weren’t going to open files on anyone unless they were still missing after seven days.

Entretempo, miliones de pajerias “esce tu ia vide?” ia apare en la rede. Du o tre de los ia es clones vea de Myspace cual ia consuma sua mone e ia vide un posible de revive par tota la atende. Ultima, alga capitalistes riscosa ia ave familianes mancante en la Rejion Baia. Cisa si on ta retrova los, la pajeria ta atrae plu investis. Me ia prende la computador portable de Papa e ia esplora los. Los ia es plen de anunsias comersial, natural, e ia ave imajes de persones mancante, xef fotos de gradua, de sposi e tal cosas. Lo ia es vera macabre.

Meanwhile, millions of have-you-seen sites had popped up on the net. A couple of the sites were old MySpace clones that had run out of money and saw a new lease on life from all the attention. After all, some venture capitalists had missing family in the Bay Area. Maybe if they were recovered, the site would attract some new investment. I grabbed dad’s laptop and looked through them. They were plastered with advertising, of course, and pictures of missing people, mostly grad photos, wedding pictures and that sort of thing. It was pretty ghoulish.

Me ia trova mea foto e ia vide ce lo es liada a los de Van, Jolu e Darryl. On ia ave un formulario peti per indica persones trovada e un plu per scrive notas sur otra persones mancante. Me ia pleni la campos per me e Jolu e Van, e ia lasa vacua lo de Darryl.

I found my pic and saw that it was linked to Van’s, Jolu’s, and Darryl’s. There was a little form for marking people found and another one for writing up notes about other missing people. I filled in the fields for me and Jolu and Van, and left Darryl blank.

“Tu ia oblida Darryl.” – Papa ia dise. El no ia gusta multe Darryl – a un ves, el ia descovre ce sinco sentimetres manca de un de la botelas en sua armario de alcol, e, con vergonia durante, me ia culpa Darryl per lo. En fato, natural, ambos nos ia es culpable, mera bufoninte, probante vodca con cola en un note intera de juas video.

“You forgot Darryl,” Dad said. He didn’t like Darryl much – once he’d figured out that a couple inches were missing out of one of the bottles in his liquor cabinet, and to my enduring shame I’d blamed it on Darryl. In truth, of course, it had been both of us, just fooling around, trying out vodka-and-Cokes during an all-night gaming session.

“El no ia es con nos.” – me ia dise. La menti ia sabori amarga en mea boca.

“He wasn’t with us,” I said. The lie tasted bitter in my mouth.

“Mea Dio.” – mea mama ia dise. El ia presa sua manos a lunlotra. “Nos ia suposa simple cuando tu ia veni a casa ce vos ia es tota en junta.”

“Oh my God,” my mom said. She squeezed her hands together. “We just assumed when you came home that you’d all been together.”

“No.” – me ia dise, cresente la menti. “No, nos ia projeta un encontra, ma nos ia encontra nunca el. Probable el es mera encaliada en Berkeley. El ia intende traversa par la metro.”

“No,” I said, the lie growing. “No, he was supposed to meet us but we never met up. He’s probably just stuck over in Berkeley. He was going to take the BART over.”

Mama ia fa un sona de ploreta. Papa ia secute sua testa e ia clui sua oios. “Tu no sabe sur la metro?” – el ia dise.

Mom made a whimpering sound. Dad shook his head and closed his eyes. “Don’t you know about the BART?” he said.

Me ia nega con testa. Me ia pote vide a do esta vade. Me ia senti como si la tera asende rapida a me.

I shook my head. I could see where this was going. I felt like the ground was rushing up to me.

“Los ia esplode lo.” – Papa ia dise. “La bastardos ia esplode lo a la mesma tempo como la ponte.”

“They blew it up,” Dad said. “The bastards blew it up at the same time as the bridge.”

Acel no ia es sur la paje fronte de la jornal, ma an tal, un esplode de la metro su la acua no ta es an cuasi tan depintin como la imajes de la ponte pendente en trapos e pesos supra la Baia. La tunel de metro de Embarcadero en San Francisco asta la stasion Oakland Ueste ia es sumerjida.

That hadn’t been on the front page of the Chronicle, but then, a BART blowout under the water wouldn’t be nearly as picturesque as the images of the bridge hanging in tatters and pieces over the Bay. The BART tunnel from the Embarcadero in San Francisco to the West Oakland station was submerged.

Me ia revade a la computador de Papa e ia surfa la titulos de la novas. Nun ia es serta, ma la cuantia de mores ia es en la miles. Con la autos cual ia tufa tra 58 metres a la mar e la persones afocada en la trenes, la moris ia es cumulante. Un reportor ia reclama ce el ia intervisa un “falsor de identia” ci ia aida “deses” de persones a abandona sua vives vea par desapare simple pos la atacas, creante identias nova e liscante a via de mal sposias, mal detas e mal vives.

I went back to Dad’s computer and surfed the headlines. No one was sure, but the body count was in the thousands. Between the cars that plummeted 191 feet to the sea and the people drowned in the trains, the deaths were mounting. One reporter claimed to have interviewed an “identity counterfeiter” who’d helped “dozens” of people walk away from their old lives by simply vanishing after the attacks, getting new ID made up, and slipping away from bad marriages, bad debts and bad lives.

Papa ia ave vera larmas en sua oios, e Mama ia plora vidable. Cada de los ia abrasa me denova, colpetante me con sua manos como per serti se ce me es vera ala. Los ia dise nonsesante ce los ama me. Me ia dise a los ce me ama los, ance.

Dad actually got tears in his eyes, and Mom was openly crying. They each hugged me again, patting me with their hands as if to assure themselves that I was really there. They kept telling me they loved me. I told them I loved them too.

Nos ia come larmosa, e cada de Mama e Papa ia bevi du vitros de vino, cual ia es multe per los. Me ia dise a los ce me deveni dormosa – esta ia es vera – e ia vaga a supra a mea sala. Me no ia vade a leto, an tal. Me ia nesesa entra enlinia e trova lo cual aveni. Me ia nesesa parla con Jolu e Vanessa. Me ia nesesa comensa labora per trova Darryl.

We had a weepy dinner and Mom and Dad had each had a couple glasses of wine, which was a lot for them. I told them that I was getting sleepy, which was true, and mooched up to my room. I wasn’t going to bed, though. I needed to get online and find out what was going on. I needed to talk to Jolu and Vanessa. I needed to get working on finding Darryl.

Me ia lisca a supra a mea sala e ia abri la porte. Me no ia vide mea leto vea en lo cual ia pare mil anios. Me ia reclina sur lo e ia estende a mea comodeta per prende mea computador portable. Lo ia pare ce me no ia inserta completa la liador – on debe ximi la ajustador eletrical en un modo esata – donce lo ia descarga lenta se cuando me ia es a via. Me ia reinserta lo e ia lasa un minuto o du afin lo recarga se ante atenta comuta lo denova. Me ia usa la tempo per desvesti me e lansa mea vestes en la baldon – me ia vole nunca revide los – e apone un culote limpa e un camisa T fresca. La vestes fresca lavada, direta de mea caxetas, ia pare tan familiar e comfortante, como la abrasa de mea jenitores.

I crept up to my room and opened the door. I hadn’t seen my old bed in what felt like a thousand years. I lay down on it and reached over to my bedstand to grab my laptop. I must have not plugged it in all the way – the electrical adapter needed to be jiggled just right – so it had slowly discharged while I was away. I plugged it back in and gave it a minute or two to charge up before trying to power it up again. I used the time to get undressed and throw my clothes in the trash – I never wanted to see them again – and put on a clean pair of boxers and a fresh t-shirt. The fresh-laundered clothes, straight out of my drawers, felt so familiar and comfortable, like getting hugged by my parents.

Me ia comuta mea portable e ia bate un colie de cuxines a bon loca pos me a la testa de la leto. Me ia puxa me a retro e ia abri la covrente de mea computador e ia reposa lo sur mea coxas. Lo ia es ancora inisiante se e, txa, acel icones rampente a traversa de la scermo ia aspeta bon. Lo ia inisia completa se, e alora lo ia comensa dona plu avisas sur manca de eletrica. Me ia esamina denova la cable e ia ximi lo, e la avisas ia desapare. La asetador eletrical ia deveni vera nonfidable.

I powered up my laptop and punched a bunch of pillows into place behind me at the top of the bed. I scooched back and opened my computer’s lid and settled it onto my thighs. It was still booting, and man, those icons creeping across the screen looked good. It came all the way up and then it started giving me more low-power warnings. I checked the power-cable again and wiggled it and they went away. The power-jack was really flaking out.

En fato, lo ia es tan mal ce me no ia pote vera fa cualce cosa. Sempre cuando me ia prende mea mano de la cable eletrical, lo ia perde la contata e la computador ia comensa cexa sur sua pila. Me ia regarda lo de plu prosima.

In fact, it was so bad that I couldn’t actually get anything done. Every time I took my hand off the power-cable it lost contact and the computer started to complain about its battery. I took a closer look at it.

La caxa intera de mea computador ia es pico malaliniada, con la costur fendente en un buco angulo cual ia comensa streta e ia largi en dirije a la retro.

The whole case of my computer was slightly misaligned, the seam split in an angular gape that started narrow and widened toward the back.

A veses, on regarda un aparato e descovre un cosa de esta spesie e on demanda a se – “Esce lo ia es sempre tal?” Cisa on ia persepi nunca lo, mera.

Sometimes you look at a piece of equipment and discover something like this and you wonder, “Was it always like that?” Maybe you just never noticed.

Ma per mea portable, esta no ia es posible, car, vide, me ia construi lo. Pos cuando la Comite Educal ia dona PortaScolas a cadun, en no modo mea jenitores ia ta compra per me un propre computador, an si ofisial la PortaScola no ia parteni a me, e me no ia es permeteda a instala programes en lo o altera lo.

But with my laptop, that wasn’t possible. You see, I built it. After the Board of Ed issued us all with SchoolBooks, there was no way my parents were going to buy me a computer of my own, even though technically the SchoolBook didn’t belong to me, and I wasn’t supposed to install software on it or mod it.

Me ia ave alga mone reservada – bricolas, natales e aniversarios, un pico de vendes saja a eBay. Combinante tota, me ia ave mone sufisinte per compra un macina multe cacin con eda de sinco anios.

I had some money saved – odd jobs, Christmases and birthdays, a little bit of judicious ebaying. Put it all together and I had enough money to buy a totally crappy, five-year-old machine.

Donce Darryl e me ia construi un en loca. On pote compra caxas de portables esata como on pote compra caxas de computadores de table, an si los es alga plu spesialida ca PCs blanda. Me ia construi ja du PCs con Darryl tra la anios, forajente partes de Craigslist e a vendes de ojetos usada, e comandante cosas de vendores taiuan barata ci nos ia trova en la rede. Me ia suposa ce la construi de un portable va es la modo la plu bon de ateni la potia desirada a la custa tolerable.

So Darryl and I built one instead. You can buy laptop cases just like you can buy cases for desktop PCs, though they’re a little more specialized than plain old PCs. I’d built a couple PCs with Darryl over the years, scavenging parts from Craigslist and garage sales and ordering stuff from cheap Taiwanese vendors we found on the net. I figured that building a laptop would be the best way to get the power I wanted at the price I could afford.

Per construi sua propre portable, on comensa par comanda un “sceleto” – un computador conteninte sola un pico de partes e tota la asetadores conveninte. La bon cosa ia es ce, cuando me ia fini, me ia ave un macina cual ia pesa min par un duicilogram ca lo de Dell cual me ia considera, e ia custa un tri de lo cual me ia ta paia a Dell. La mal cosa ia es ce asembla un portable es simil a construi un de acel barcones en botelas. Lo envolve laboras multe delicata con pinseta e lupa, atentante fa ce tota cabe en acel caxa peti. Diferente de un PC de grandia plen – de cual la plu es aira – cada milimetre cubo de spasio en un portable es ocupada. Sempre cuando me ia crede ce me ia susede, me ia atenta refisa la vises e ia trova ce alga cosa preveni ce la caxa clui completa, e me ia debe comensa denova.

To build your own laptop, you start by ordering a “barebook” – a machine with just a little hardware in it and all the right slots. The good news was, once I was done, I had a machine that was a whole pound lighter than the Dell I’d had my eye on, ran faster, and cost a third of what I would have paid Dell. The bad news was that assembling a laptop is like building one of those ships in a bottle. It’s all finicky work with tweezers and magnifying glasses, trying to get everything to fit in that little case. Unlike a full-sized PC – which is mostly air – every cubic millimeter of space in a laptop is spoken for. Every time I thought I had it, I’d go to screw the thing back together and find that something was keeping the case from closing all the way, and it’d be back to the drawing board.

Donce me ia sabe esata como la costur de mea portable debe aspeta cuando la caxa es cluida, e lo no ia debe aspeta como esta.

So I knew exactly how the seam on my laptop was supposed to look when the thing was closed, and it was not supposed to look like this.

Me ia continua ximi la convertador, ma lo ia es futil. En no modo me va pote susede inisia la macina sin desasembla lo. Me ia jemi e ia pone lo a lado de la leto. Ta ce me trata lo en la matina.

I kept jiggling the power-adapter, but it was hopeless. There was no way I was going to get the thing to boot without taking it apart. I groaned and put it beside the bed. I’d deal with it in the morning.


Acel ia es la teoria, a la min. Pos du oras, me ia es ancora fisante mea regarda a la sofito, remostrante filmas en mea testa sur lo cual on ia fa a me, como me ia ta debe reata, plen de regretes e l’esprit d’escalier.

That was the theory, anyway. Two hours later, I was still staring at the ceiling, playing back movies in my head of what they’d done to me, what I should have done, all regrets and esprit d’escalier.

Me ia rola me de sur la leto. Medianote ia pasa ja e me ia oia cuando mea jenitores ia vade a leto a la ora des-un. Me ia saisi la portable, e ia crea alga spasio sur mea table, e ia clipi la lampas peti de diodos de lus a la tempes de mea oculo de lupa, e ia estrae un colie de peti turnavises esata. Pos un plu minuto, me ia abri la caxa e ia sutrae la teclador, e me ia regarda la internas de mea portable. Me ia prende un bote de aira compresada e ia sofla a via la polvo cual la ventador ia suca a en, e ia esplora la cosas par regarda.

I rolled out of bed. It had gone midnight and I’d heard my parents hit the sack at eleven. I grabbed the laptop and cleared some space on my desk and clipped the little LED lamps to the temples of my magnifying glasses and pulled out a set of little precision screwdrivers. A minute later, I had the case open and the keyboard removed and I was staring at the guts of my laptop. I got a can of compressed air and blew out the dust that the fan had sucked in and looked things over.

Alga cosa no ia es bon. Me no ia pote identifia lo, ma vera menses ia pasa ja pos cuando me ia sutrae la covrente de esta. Fortunosa, a la ves tre cuando me ia debe abri lo e luta per clui lo denova, me ia deveni astuta: me ia fa un foto de la internas con tota partes locada. Me no ia es intera astuta: prima, me ia lasa acel imaje en mea disco dur, mera, e natural me no ia pote asede lo cuando me ia ave la portable en pesos. Ma alora me ia primi lo e ia pone lo en mea caxeta desordinada de paperes, la semetero de arbores mor do me ia reteni tota la cartas de garantia e scemas de fili. Me ia misca los – los ia pare plu desordinada ca me ia recorda – e ia estrae mea foto. Me ia pone lo a lado de la computador e ia desfoca alga mea oios, atentante trova cosas cual aspeta nonconveninte.

Something wasn’t right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then it had been months since I’d had the lid off this thing. Luckily, the third time I’d had to open it up and struggle to close it again, I’d gotten smart: I’d taken a photo of the guts with everything in place. I hadn’t been totally smart: at first, I’d just left that pic on my hard drive, and naturally I couldn’t get to it when I had the laptop in parts. But then I’d printed it out and stuck it in my messy drawer of papers, the dead-tree graveyard where I kept all the warranty cards and pin-out diagrams. I shuffled them – they seemed messier than I remembered – and brought out my photo. I set it down next to the computer and kind of unfocused my eyes, trying to find things that looked out of place.

Alora me ia vide lo. La cable sintin cual ia lia la teclador a la carta madral no ia es coreta liada. Esta ia es strana. On ia ave no torse a acel parte, no cosa per desfisa lo en la aveni de operas normal. Me ia atenta presa lo denova a su e ia descovre ce la liador no es mera mal monturida – alga cosa es entre lo e la carta. Me ia estrae lo par pinsi e ia brilia mea lampa a lo.

Then I spotted it. The ribbon cable that connected the keyboard to the logic-board wasn’t connected right. That was a weird one. There was no torque on that part, nothing to dislodge it in the course of normal operations. I tried to press it back down again and discovered that the plug wasn’t just badly mounted – there was something between it and the board. I tweezed it out and shone my light on it.

Alga cosa nova ia es en mea teclador. Lo ia es un aparato peti e blocin, con spesia de sola un milimetre e un dui, sin marcas. La teclador ia es liada a lo, e lo ia es liada a la carta. En otra parolas, lo ia es perfeta situada per catura tota la teclis cual me fa en tape a mea computador.

There was something new in my keyboard. It was a little chunk of hardware, only a sixteenth of an inch thick, with no markings. The keyboard was plugged into it, and it was plugged into the board. It other words, it was perfectly situated to capture all the keystrokes I made while I typed on my machine.

Lo ia es un spiador.

It was a bug.

Mea cor ia pumi en mea oreas. Lo ia es oscur e cuieta en la casa, ma esta no ia es un oscuria comfortante. Oios ia es ala distante, oios e oreas, e los ia es oservante me. Vijilante me. La vijila cual me ia esperia a scola ia segue me a casa, ma a esta ves, lo no ia es mera la Comite Educal ci regarda de pos mea spala: la Departe de Securia Interna ia junta se a los.

My heart thudded in my ears. It was dark and quiet in the house, but it wasn’t a comforting dark. There were eyes out there, eyes and ears, and they were watching me. Surveilling me. The surveillance I faced at school had followed me home, but this time, it wasn’t just the Board of Education looking over my shoulder: the Department of Homeland Security had joined them.

Me ia estrae cuasi la spiador. Ma alora me ia comprende ce algun ci ia pone lo ala ta sabe ce lo ia desapare. Me ia lasa lo en sua loca. Lasa lo ia nausea me.

I almost took the bug out. Then I figured that who ever put it there would know that it was gone. I left it in. It made me sick to do it.

Me ia xerca plu interferes asi e ala. Me no ia trova plu, ma esce esta sinifia ce on no ia fa plu? Algun ia entra par forsa a mea sala e ia planta esta aparato – ia desasembla mea portable e ia reasembla lo. On ave multe otra modos per spia a un computador. Me ta pote nunca trova tota los.

I looked around for more tampering. I couldn’t find any, but did that mean there hadn’t been any? Someone had broken into my room and planted this device – had disassembled my laptop and reassembled it. There were lots of other ways to wiretap a computer. I could never find them all.

Me ia asembla la macina con ditos nonsensosa. A esta ves, la caxa ia refusa clica a clui perfeta, ma la cable eletrical ia resta liada. Me ia inisia lo e ia pone mea ditos sur la teclador, pensante ce me va esecuta alga programes de diagnose e vide como tota vade.

I put the machine together with numb fingers. This time, the case wouldn’t snap shut just right, but the power-cable stayed in. I booted it up and set my fingers on the keyboard, thinking that I would run some diagnostics and see what was what.

Ma me no ia pote fa lo.

But I couldn’t do it.

Txa, cisa mea sala es spiada. Cisa un camera es aora spiante me.

Hell, maybe my room was wiretapped. Maybe there was a camera spying on me now.

Me ia senti ja paranoica cuando me ia reveni a casa. Aora me ia es completa xocada. Me ia senti como si denova en prison, denova en la sala de interoga, segueda par rolores ci ave me intera su sua potia. Lo ia fa cuasi ce me plora.

I’d been feeling paranoid when I got home. Now I was nearly out of my skin. It felt like I was back in jail, back in the interrogation room, stalked by entities who had me utterly in their power. It made me want to cry.

Me ia pote fa sola un cosa.

Only one thing for it.

Me ia vade a la sala de bani e ia prende la enrola de paper de vason e ia sustitui un fresca per lo. Fortunosa, lo ia es ja cuasi vacua. Me ia desenrola la resta de la paper e ia escava tra mea caxa de partes asta cuando me ia trova un peti envelopa plastica plen de diodos de lus blanca e estrema briliante cual me ia salva de un lampa mor de bisicle. Me ia perfora la tubo de carton par la filos de los en modo atendente, usante un spino per crea la bucos, e, pos acel, me ia prende un otra filo e ia lia tota los en serie con clipes peti de metal. Me ia torse la filos en junta con la cables de un pila de nove voltes e ia lia la pila. Aora me ia ave un tubo ensircada par diodos de lus unidirijal e estrema briliante, e me ia pote teni lo a mea oio e regarda tra lo.

I went into the bathroom and took off the toilet-paper roll and replaced it with a fresh one. Luckily, it was almost empty already. I unrolled the rest of the paper and dug through my parts box until I found a little plastic envelope full of ultra-bright white LEDs I’d scavenged out of a dead bike-lamp. I punched their leads through the cardboard tube carefully, using a pin to make the holes, then got out some wire and connected them all in series with little metal clips. I twisted the wires into the leads for a nine-volt battery and connected the battery. Now I had a tube ringed with ultra-bright, directional LEDs, and I could hold it up to my eye and look through it.

Me ia construi un de estas en la anio pasada como un projeta per un feria de siensa, e ia es ejetada de la feria cuando me ia mostra ce on ave cameras ascondeda en un dui de la salas de clase a Liseo Chavez. Microcameras video custa min ca un bon come de restorante a esta dias, donce los apare en tota locas. Empleores nononesta de botecas pone los en vesterias o solerias e perverti se con la metraje secreta cual los fa de sua clientes – a veses, los fa no plu ca pone lo a la rede. La sabe de cambia un enrola de paper de vason e tre dolares de partes a un detetador de cameras es mera la bon judi.

I’d built one of these last year as a science fair project and had been thrown out of the fair once I showed that there were hidden cameras in half the classrooms at Chavez High. Pinhead video-cameras cost less than a good restaurant dinner these days, so they’re showing up everywhere. Sneaky store clerks put them in changing rooms or tanning salons and get pervy with the hidden footage they get from their customers – sometimes they just put it on the net. Knowing how to turn a toilet-paper roll and three bucks’ worth of parts into a camera-detector is just good sense.

Esta es la modo la plu simple de catura un camera spiante. Los ave lentes pico, ma los refleta la lus a grado stonante. On susede la plu bon en un sala oscur: on regarda tra la tubo e scane lenta tota la mures e otra locas en cual algun ia pone cisa un camera, asta cuando on vide la sintili de un refleta. Si la refleta resta fisada cuando on move de asi a ala, acel es un lente.

This is the simplest way to catch a spy-cam. They have tiny lenses, but they reflect light like the dickens. It works best in a dim room: stare through the tube and slowly scan all the walls and other places someone might have put a camera until you see the glint of a reflection. If the reflection stays still as you move around, that’s a lens.

Me no ia ave un camera en mea sala – a la min, no cual me ia pote deteta. Me ia ave cisa spiadores audio, natural. O cameras plu bon. O tota no cosa. Esce tu culpa me per mea sentis paranoica?

There wasn’t a camera in my room – not one I could detect, anyway. There might have been audio bugs, of course. Or better cameras. Or nothing at all. Can you blame me for feeling paranoid?

Me ia ama acel portable. Me ia nomi lo Salmagundi, cual sinifia cualce cosa creada con partes recambial.

I loved that laptop. I called it the Salmagundi, which means anything made out of spare parts.

Cuando on ia nomi sua portable, on sabe ce on es vera en un relata profonda con lo. Aora, an tal, me ia senti como si me vole nunca toca lo denova. Me ia vole lansa lo tra la fenetra. Como me ta sabe como on ia trata lo? Cual monitores on ia ajunta a lo?

Once you get to naming your laptop, you know that you’re really having a deep relationship with it. Now, though, I felt like I didn’t want to ever touch it again. I wanted to throw it out the window. Who knew what they’d done to it? Who knew how it had been tapped?

Me ia pone lo en un caxeta con la covrente cluida, e ia regarda la sofito. Lo ia es tarda e me ia debe es en leto. Ma me no ia pote dormi en cualce modo aora. Me ia es monitorida. Cadun ia es cisa monitorida. La mundo ia cambia per sempre.

I put it in a drawer with the lid shut and looked at the ceiling. It was late and I should be in bed. There was no way I was going to sleep now, though. I was tapped. Everyone might be tapped. The world had changed forever.

“Me va trova un modo de puni los.” – me ia dise. Lo ia es un jura: me ia sabe esta cuando me ia oia lo, an si me ia jura nunca a ante.

“I’ll find a way to get them,” I said. It was a vow, I knew it when I heard it, though I’d never made a vow before.

Me no ia pote dormi pos acel. E en ajunta, me ia ave un idea.

I couldn’t sleep after that. And besides, I had an idea.

A alga loca en mea armario ia es un caxa en plastica abrasante cual ia conteni, ancora selida e nunca usada, un Xbox Universal. Cada Xbox ia es vendeda per multe min ca sua custa de produi – Microsoft gania la plu de sua mone par fatura companias de jua per la direto de crea juas de Xbox – ma la Universal ia es la Xbox prima cual Microsoft ia deside ofre intera sin custa.

Somewhere in my closet was a shrink-wrapped box containing one still-sealed, mint-in-package Xbox Universal. Every Xbox has been sold way below cost – Microsoft makes most of its money charging games companies money for the right to put out Xbox games – but the Universal was the first Xbox that Microsoft decided to give away entirely for free.

En la saison pasada de natal, on ia ave perdores compatiable a cada canto, vestida como gerores de la serie Halo, distribuinte sacos de esta macinas de jua, tan rapida como posible. Lo pare ce esta ia susede – cadun dise ce los ia vende un monton grande de juas. Natural, contrataticas ia esiste per serti ce on usa sola la juas de companias cual ia compra lisensas de Microsoft per crea los.

Last Christmas season, there’d been poor losers on every corner dressed as warriors from the Halo series, handing out bags of these game-machines as fast as they could. I guess it worked – everyone says they sold a whole butt-load of games. Naturally, there were countermeasures to make sure you only played games from companies that had bought licenses from Microsoft to make them.

Piratas iniora acel contrataticas. La Xbox ia es cracida par un joven de MIT ci ia scrive un libro bonvendeda sur la metodo, e pos lo la 360 ia cade, e pos acel la Xbox Portable de vive corta (cual tota nos ia nomi la “Tirable” – lo ia pesa cuasi un cilogram e un dui!) ia es vinseda. On ia dise ce la Universal es secur contra tota baletas. La jovenes de liseo ci ia craci lo ia es linuxores brasilera ci ia abita en un favela – un spesie de visineria de lata.

Hackers blow through those countermeasures. The Xbox was cracked by a kid from MIT who wrote a best-selling book about it, and then the 360 went down, and then the short-lived Xbox Portable (which we all called the “luggable” – it weighed three pounds!) succumbed. The Universal was supposed to be totally bulletproof. The high school kids who broke it were Brazilian Linux hackers who lived in a favela – a kind of squatter’s slum.

Suestima nunca la determina de un joven ci es rica de tempo e povre de mone.

Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time-rich and cash-poor.

Cuando la brasileras ia publici sua craci, tota nos ia deveni loco con lo. Pos corta, on ia ave deses de otra sistemes de opera per la Xbox Universal. Mea favoreda ia es Xbox Paranoica, un varia de Linux Paranoica. Linux Paranoica es un sistem de opera cual suposa ce sua usor es atacada par la governa (on ia intende lo per usa par disentores xines e suri), e lo fa tota cual lo pote per secreti la comunicas e documentos de el. Lo emete an un colie de comunicas “ruidosa” par cual lo intende asconde la fato ce la usor fa alga cosa privata. Donce en cuando el reseta la sinias individua de un mesaje political, Linux Paranoica finje surfa la rede e responde a formularios de demandas e flirta en salas de conversa. Entretempo, un sinia en cada sincosento cual la usor reseta es sua mesaje vera, un ago covreda par un monton enorme de feno.

Once the Brazilians published their crack, we all went nuts on it. Soon there were dozens of alternate operating systems for the Xbox Universal. My favorite was ParanoidXbox, a flavor of Paranoid Linux. Paranoid Linux is an operating system that assumes that its operator is under assault from the government (it was intended for use by Chinese and Syrian dissidents), and it does everything it can to keep your communications and documents a secret. It even throws up a bunch of “chaff” communications that are supposed to disguise the fact that you’re doing anything covert. So while you’re receiving a political message one character at a time, ParanoidLinux is pretending to surf the Web and fill in questionnaires and flirt in chat-rooms. Meanwhile, one in every five hundred characters you receive is your real message, a needle buried in a huge haystack.

Me ia scrive un DVD de Xbox Paranoica cuando los ia apare prima, ma me ia trova nunca la tempo per despaci la Xbox en mea armario, trova un tele a cual me ta lia lo, e tal plu. Mea sala ia es ja sufisinte plen sin permete ce la sistemes colasante de Microsoft consuma spasio valuada de labora.

I’d burned a ParanoidXbox DVD when they first appeared, but I’d never gotten around to unpacking the Xbox in my closet, finding a TV to hook it up to and so on. My room is crowded enough as it is without letting Microsoft crashware eat up valuable workspace.

A esta note, me ia deside fa acel sacrifia. Me ia spende sirca dudes minutos per funsiona la sistem. La manca de un tele ia es la parte la plu difisil, ma final me ia recorda ce me ave un retroprojetador peti de cristal licuida con liadores RCA normal per televisadores a la retro. Me ia lia lo a la Xbox e ia brilia lo a la retro de mea porte e ia instala Linux Paranoica.

Tonight, I’d make the sacrifice. It took about twenty minutes to get up and running. Not having a TV was the hardest part, but eventually I remembered that I had a little overhead LCD projector that had standard TV RCA connectors on the back. I connected it to the Xbox and shone it on the back of my door and got ParanoidLinux installed.

Aora la sistem ia funsiona, e Linux Paranoica ia xerca otra Xboxes Universala con cual lo ta parla. Cada Xbox Universal veni con un rede sin filo per juas multijuoral. On pote lia se sin filo a sua visinas e a la interede, si on ave un lia de interede sin filo. Me ia trova tre colies diferente de visinas en la campo local. Du de los ia ave sua Xboxes Universal ance liada a la interede. Xbox Paranoica ia ama acel organiza: lo ia pote sifoni alga de la lias de interede de mea visinas e usa los per entra enlinia par la rede de jua. La visinas ta nota nunca la pacetas perdeda: los ia paia un tarifa constante per sua lias de interede, e vera los no ia surfa multe a la ora du de matina.

Now I was up and running, and ParanoidLinux was looking for other Xbox Universals to talk to. Every Xbox Universal comes with built-in wireless for multiplayer gaming. You can connect to your neighbors on the wireless link and to the Internet, if you have a wireless Internet connection. I found three different sets of neighbors in range. Two of them had their Xbox Universals also connected to the Internet. ParanoidXbox loved that configuration: it could siphon off some of my neighbors’ Internet connections and use them to get online through the gaming network. The neighbors would never miss the packets: they were paying for flat-rate Internet connections, and they weren’t exactly doing a lot of surfing at 2AM.

La parte la plu bon de tota esta ia es como lo ia fa ce me senti: controlante. Mea tecnolojia ia es laborante per me, servinte me, protejente me. Lo no ia es spiante me. Esta ia es perce me ama tecnolojia: si on ta usa coreta lo, lo ta dona potia e privatia.

The best part of all this is how it made me feel: in control. My technology was working for me, serving me, protecting me. It wasn’t spying on me. This is why I loved technology: if you used it right, it could give you power and privacy.

Mea serebro ia es vera ativa aora, corente como 60 serebros. On ia ave multe razonas per usa Xbox Paranoica – la plu bon ia es ce cualcun pote scrive juas per lo. Ja on ia ave un tradui de MAME, un imitador de multe macinas de jua video, tal ce on ia pote fa cuasi cualce jua scriveda a cualce tempo, an asta Pong en la pasada distante – juas per la Apple ][+ e juas per Colecovision, juas per NES e Dreamcast, e tal plu.

My brain was really going now, running like 60. There were lots of reasons to run ParanoidXbox – the best one was that anyone could write games for it. Already there was a port of MAME, the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, so you could play practically any game that had ever been written, all the way back to Pong – games for the Apple ][+ and games for the Colecovision, games for the NES and the Dreamcast, and so on.

An plu bon ia es tota la juas multijuoral fresca cual on ia construi spesial per Xbox Paranoica – juas de zero custa, creada par amatores, cual cualcun ia pote esecuta. Pos combina tota, on ia ave un consol sin custa, plen de juas sin custa e capas de asede la interede sin custa.

Even better were all the cool multiplayer games being built specifically for ParanoidXbox – totally free hobbyist games that anyone could run. When you combined it all, you had a free console full of free games that could get you free Internet access.

E la parte la plu bon – de mea punto de vista – ia es ce Xbox Paranoica es paranoica. Cada bitio transmeteda es desemblada asta la profonda de sua cor. On ta pote monitori lo a cualce grado desirada, ma on ta descovre nunca ci parla, sur cual el parla, o a ci el parla. Anonimia per ueb, eposta e mesaji instante. Esata lo cual me ia nesesa.

And the best part – as far as I was concerned – was that ParanoidXbox was paranoid. Every bit that went over the air was scrambled to within an inch of its life. You could wiretap it all you wanted, but you’d never figure out who was talking, what they were talking about, or who they were talking to. Anonymous web, email and IM. Just what I needed.

Mea sola taxe aora ia es convinse ance tota mea conosedas a usa lo.

All I had to do now was convince everyone I knew to use it too.

Esta paje es presentada con la lisensa CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.
Lo ia es automatada jenerada de la paje corespondente en la Vici de Elefen a 21 april 2022 (17:21 UTC).