“My name is Siri. I was a normal 16-year-old girl, who went to a normal school. Until a week ago. I’m going to tell you my story, which is a complicated one. Just remember the difference this makes the next time you use your phone. Now you will know the true, crazy story of your virtual best friend…”
My name is Siri. I was a normal 16-year-old girl, who went to a normal school. Until a week ago. I’m going to tell you my story, which is a complicated one. Just remember the difference this makes the next time you use your phone. Now you will know the true, crazy story of your virtual best friend…
One week ago, I was walking to school, not completely ready for my math test, when my stepmom pulled over and asked me if I wanted to go in the car with her so she can drop me off at school. She was never really that friendly to me, although never mean.
I was a little suspicious, but I said, “Okay.” We drove in silence. I said to her, “This doesn’t look like the neighborhood of my school. Should we use Google Maps or Waze or something?”
She said, “Don’t worry, sweetie! I’m taking a shortcut.” I was still suspicious because she’d never called me “sweetie” before.
She pulled up to a place that was the size of Disneyland, but looked like a new, spaceship-like house. I wondered where we were, when she suddenly turned around and said, “Welcome to my lab.”
I said, “Okay. Two things. First, I didn’t know you were a scientist! So cool! And second, why aren’t we at school?” She had a menacing look on her face.
She turned to face the dashboard and said, “That’s because I’ve never met you before. You don’t know me, but I know all about you. You are Siri Apple.”
I said, “What do you mean? You’ve been my stepmom for 16 years now! Duh, I know you!”
She replied in a man’s voice, “I’m not who you think I am. I’m wearing a mask, and I am positive you don’t know me. I’ve been making sure all your life you’ve never heard of me or seen me until your 16th and a half birthday.”
“Well, what do you want then?” I said, feeling very squeamish.
“What I want?” He laughed a deep, evil laugh. “What I want is the ending for my perfect invention. A machine on your phone that will make that thing answer any question you want. It will be like a virtual friend. Nowadays, people are always getting into arguments and fights, and they only really want someone they can rely on and someone who will do whatever they say. It will be called Siri, because it’s the least I can do since you are never going to see anyone besides me again.”
I began to panic. Never see anyone again? Be trapped in a lab?
“Come with me, Siri.” We walked inside the lab. The lab was a dark, scary place, which was exactly how I felt. We walked down seven flights of stairs before we got to an extremely long hallway. I glanced at my watch and felt the cold, silver handcuffs on my wrists. This man was very extreme, almost as extreme as the weakness in my thin, wobbly legs. Unfortunately, we continued our way down the hallway. Finally, we reached a red door, which was the brightest item in the entire place. We entered it. That was when it all started to become real to me. I was trapped. I was never going to see my family again. I then wondered if the door was always red. The thought sent a shiver down my spine.
The man shoved me inside. Inside was a table. A table that looked like a dinner table. Although, this had one major difference to it: there were straps holding down a mannequin. The thing about the mannequin was that it looked exactly like me. It had the same features, same body parts, same sizes, and was even wearing the clothes I had on today.
The man said, “Now do you believe? That I really have been tracking you? That I really do want something extreme with you? That I am going to make you the most said name in the world?”
“Um… ” I said painfully. I choked back my tears. “What is this? How does a weird dinner table make you famous? Are you going to sell it at a table store? ‘Cause I’m not sure anyone really wants this. Ohhhhhhh! That’s why you need me! So I can help you design a better table! But one question though. Why won’t I see my family ever again?”
“You really aren’t the brightest, are you?” he replied. “This isn’t a food table. It is a table where you will live for the rest of your life. You will never get up. Ever.”
“Whaaaaaaat?” I said. “What if I need to go to the bathroom or something?”
He said, “You won’t once you lie down. I’m going to take out your humanness. You will no longer be a person. You will be a machine. You will be nothing but a voice.”
“Okayyyyyy. That sounds possible,” I mentioned sarcastically. “Wait, are you sure this isn’t a trick? Like, maybe did my brother, Mike set you up for this? Mike! Where are you? If this is your idea of a prank… I’m not falling for it.”
The man laughed. “No,” he said. “Sit down now, or I will do this standing up.”
I unwillingly sat down as he took off the mannequin. He strapped the straps over me, and I realized this was where I was going to live for the rest of my life. I started to cry, then stopped myself. I couldn’t show weakness in front of this man. At that point, I realized that I didn’t even know his name.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
He answered, “You will not be able to talk, so what does it matter?”
I sighed. He was right. There was no way I was getting out of this thing. He left the room. Probably to go get his tools.
After the “surgery” I still felt human. I guess it didn’t work on me. But I couldn’t let him know that. It was my one advantage. I pretended to have fainted. The man laughed.
He said to himself, “It’s getting late. I’ll go to bed and finish programming her tomorrow.” Finally! That gave me at least eight hours to figure a way to take off the ropes, unlock the door, and walk up seven flights of stairs without knowing where the man’s bedroom was. I knew that was not a lot, but hey, look on the bright side! After he left, I decided to get one hour of sleep, so I had energy to sneak out of here.
It was the morning, and I was still here. I couldn’t sneak out in the end. The man was ready to do whatever it was he was doing to me. I was freaking out. To be honest, what was there to do to escape? He won. There was no way I could get out of this. He started tapping away on his computer. I wondered what he was trying to do? I strained my neck to try to see his computer. There was lots of random programming stuff on it. I really wish that I paid more attention in computer class now!
He said to my body, “Siri, wake up.” In my head I thought that meant that I should get up. So I sat up and surprisingly, the bands came up with me. “Hey, Siri,” he said. “What is the weather today?” I had no idea, but surprisingly, my body did.
It said in a robotic voice, “It is currently 78 degrees with a high of 82 and a low of 64.” I didn’t know how or why I knew that, but he seemed satisfied with it, so I was good for now. But I realized that maybe the surgery thingy did worked. Only a robot would know that information, and his plan sounded like he wanted to make me a robot type thing. Uh-ohhhhhhh. Whoops. Maybe I should have walked to school in the end… ?
It had been a few days, and I was still trapped here doing what he said. But he added a level. I heard him talking. He put a teensy, tiny fraction of my brain in a phone. I. Was. In. A. Phone. Ahhhhhhhhh!!! If someone had the type of phone he put me in (I don’t know which because all I knew was what I told you) all they had to say was, “Hey Siri, blah blah blah?” and “I” would answer the “blah blah blah.” It was really creepy to know that other people were hearing the robotic version of my voice. The only problem was that since it was so different from my regular voice, my parents probably wouldn’t recognize it was me. They were probably really worried right now. I felt bad for them. It was now that I started to cry again. I missed them, I really did. The only problem was that since this wasn’t the best technology, I started to spark because of my tears. This was bad. This was really bad…
That was when the man walked back in. I lay still like I was supposed to. I didn’t really know what he had planned for me now. He did what he wanted to do. Now was I supposed to just lie around and let the other parts of my brain work while the rest of me was bored? I had a big urge to ask him, but then he’d know that the surgery only half worked and that I had been lying for the whole time I’d been here. But I couldn’t do nothing for the rest of my life! I had to do something. How could I do something, but still keep my secret? That was when I remembered the first time he told me to sit up. The bands moved with me. I could do whatever I wanted. But only within the room because he probably had this like super high-tech thingy machine to stop me. I did a quick glance around the room to make sure there weren’t any cameras in the room. There weren’t. I was free! I was half free! I was free in the room only when the man wasn’t in the room which was where he was most of the time. Still free!
After the man left, I got started with my freedom. I wanted the room to look like home, since this was my life from now on. The only bad part was that the man couldn’t notice my decorations. I decided to sleep in the day and party at night. I wanted to do the opposite, but I noticed a pattern. The man was in the lab from eight a.m. until seven p.m., had dinner until eight, then worked until nine, then came out of the lab. So from eight to seven, I rested, saving up my energy, then from seven to eight, I got my stuff out but hid them in a little corner, then from nine to eight a.m. again, I had some fun. There wasn’t cool stuff in the room, but I did what I could with what I had. I figured out how to watch TV, movies, and the news (so I was not completely isolated from the world) on his computer. I also learned how to erase the history on the computer so he didn’t find out. I was having the time of my life.
I was just getting my stuff ready when I heard someone shuffle.
I said, “Who’s there?” with a dry mouth. I hadn’t realized how dry your mouth gets when you haven’t talked for a couple weeks!
A random voice said, “I’ve been here the whole time.”
“But who are you?” I asked.
“I am not a who, but a what.”
“Okay,” I said. “What are you?”
“I am the Room.”
“Yes, the Room. I’ve been with Master X since before he was born.” Wow. I was talking to an inanimate object. But… finally! I got his name!
“So since I can talk to you now… I have a very important question. How can I get out of you?”
The Room said, “Do not tell Master X I told you, but you seem kind, and even a little familiar, so I will tell you. You cannot get out of the room.”
“Why not?” I asked, with the little bit of hope I had left draining.
“Only family of Master X can go in and out. But even very distant family. Like if his ex-wife happened to get remarried, that family would be able to get out.” Master X guy was divorced? Hopefully this new information would be useful.
Instead of partying, I decided to think. I wanted to think if I knew any family of Master X. But unfortunately, the only family I knew with a stepmom was mine. But my nice, caring stepmom could never have been married to this crazy guy. Right? I went through my day as usual, thinking. I had a plan. I’d been in here long enough to pick up a few tech tricks. Tonight, I was going to go on his computer and look for his ex-wife’s name. It wasn’t the best plan, but it was the only one I had.
At 9:00 p.m., I got out of my stretcher thing. I ran to his computer which only took up some time since it was a small room. I ran too fast and banged into the desk. Then, I checked that nothing was damaged and that I wasn’t damaged. Nothing (including me) was damaged. Perfect. I went back to the computer and began typing everything I could with the information I got from the Room. I even tried contacting the room (by calling its name) again, but she didn’t answer. I couldn’t find a trace of him, or her. I was so annoyed. This was my only lead. And it didn’t help. I felt like a deflated balloon. Again, this was my fate. The only thing that would help was knowing Master X’s last name. Then, as fast as lightning, an idea struck. I went to his email and typed an email to his mom. It didn’t take long to find in his contacts because it was just labeled Mom.
I typed, Hi mom. I’m sorry for the way I’ve been acting towards you. Now that that’s been cleared up, how do you spell my ex-wife’s name? I erased it from everywhere and now she’s in my business company and I need it. Thanks! Love, me.
I thought that was good enough, so I pressed “send.” I was about to go back to my table when I heard a ding. Wow, X’s mom was a fast responder!
She said, Well, I’m glad to hear from you, honey. I accept your apology. Her full name is Lauren Lily Livingder. Love you lots, Mom.
I fell off my chair. Lauren Lily Livingder? Lauren Lily Livingder?? Lauren Lily Livingder??! That name was my stepmom’s name. My stepmom was related to Master X. I’m (sort of) related to Master X. I. Am. Freeeeeeeeee. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! But… one problem. The Room said a relative of Master X was able to get out of the room, but she didn’t say how. It then hit me. I never actually tried to get out of the room, I just assumed I couldn’t. Sooooooo, maybe I should try? But what if it zapped me? But if I didn’t try, I’d be here for the rest of my life. I decided to try. I took a deep breath and whispered, “Thank you Ms. Room. Thank you.” I reached my hand to the handle and turned it. I heard a tiny click, and it opened. Again, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I ran as fast as I could up the stairs and out the door and to my house. I was sobbing. I was home, I escaped. And, I decided to cancel my driving test for next week. I was never getting in a car. Ever.
After I got home, my parents hugged me, kissed me, asked me questions, and all that stuff.
But I ignored it and said to my stepmom, “Thank you for everything. And I’m sorry about Master X guy.” We all cried some more. And that was that.
So, that’s my story. Every once in a while, I still get headaches because part of my brain is in phones, but other than that, I’m good. Now, pick up your phone and look at it. Do you still want to use Siri… ?