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Rated: E · Short Story · Computers · #2317932
Two young boys find Grandma's Computer, but what to do with it?
Grandma’s Computer


Word Count: 999

Mace blew off a layer of dust from an old boarded up box. His brother joined him.

“There’s some old stuff up here in Grandma’s attic, ain’t there?” Ryker put his hands on his hips.

“Sure is.” Mace tore open the box. Grandma’s attic had six rooms. One room had a bed in it. The attic smelled like rotting old moth balls, but Mace didn’t mind. He thought the whole attic was full of hidden treasure. He imagined Grandma must have been so old she let pirates hide their treasure chests in the attic knowing that no one would dare to look up here for their loot. Dad had recently inherited the house and wanted to see what was in it.

“Oooo, look at this!” Mace exclaimed. He picked up a metallic box out of the cardboard one. It was rectangular, with air vents and a push in button.

“I think it’s an old computer.” Ryker ran his hands over it. “Look, here’s the cord.”

“What should we do with it?” Mace asked.

“Turn it on, of course!”


Just then their dad walked into the room. “What are you two doing?”

“We found Grandma’s old computer!” Mace announced.

Dad walked over to the box and studied the computer. He ran his hand over it, tugged at the cord and finally whistled. “I’m impressed. I think this thing is an Intel Pentium Pro.”

“What does that mean, Dad?” Ryker asked.

“It’s pretty old, Son.”

“Can we plug it in?” asked Mace.

“Sure – look for an outlet.”

Mace and Ryker hunted for an outlet in the room.

Ryker waved his hands. “I found one! It’s here by the old nightstand.”

Mace and his dad joined Ryker and examined the area. There was a plug outlet with a little bit of rust around the bolts. “Okay, let’s give it a try.”

Mace and Ryker took the old computer tower to the nightstand. Dad placed the tower securely on the nightstand and plugged the cord in. Nothing happened.

Mace pouted. “Now what?”

“Ya’ gotta’ push the button,” said Ryker. He pushed the button on the front of the tower. The massive computer spurted then sputtered and whirred a little, then a lot, like it was chugging up a long hill. Mace frowned. Ryker crossed his arms. Dad rubbed his hands together. Finally, the old gadget steadied itself and the whirring became constant.

“I don’t see anything,” said Mace.

“It needs a monitor,” said Dad.

“What’s that?” asked Mace.

“It looks like an old TV screen. Let’s poke around a few more boxes.”

Mace and Ryker scrambled off to the spot where he found the computer and started tearing open the other boxes around it. Dust went flying everywhere.

“Be careful, Boys.”

“Maybe we’ll find some pirate loot,” said Mace. He ripped open a box and held up an old ceramic looking piggie.

“Your Grandma was not that old,” Dad replied.

“I think I found it.” Ryker lifted an old object out of a worn box. The screen was flat, but there was a round back to it and two long plugs coming out of the rounded part.

“That’s it!” Dad took the device from Ryker and hooked it up to the old computer tower. Then, he plugged it in. The screen flickered a couple of times and then a massive blast of ones and zero’s flashed on the screen until it settled into a series of words.

Mace gapped. “Wow. Now what?”

The screen was black, and the letters were white. There appeared to be a bunch of code on the screen and a line was flashing. Before it said the word “Password.”

“We need a keyboard.” Dad walked over to the collection of boxes and rooted through them, finally holding up a typist’s keyboard. He walked over and connected the cord to the tower.

“Dad, what does MS-DOS mean?” asked Ryker.

Dad rubbed his chin. “I think it means it’s the software that runs the program.”

“It wants a password,” said Mace.

“I have no idea what your grandma could have used as a password. Let me try something.” Dad typed a couple of letters on the keyboard but every time the computer let out a loud beep and typed “Password incorrect.”

“What do you think is on the computer?” asked Mace.

Dad shrugged. “I have no idea. Maybe Grandma put her digital pictures on here. Or maybe she saved her recipes on it.”
“Maybe Grandma wrote the great American novel and it’s waiting to be discovered,” Mace added.

“Grandma wasn’t much of a writer, but maybe,” said Dad. “You’ve got quite an imagination, Son.”

Ryker pursed his lips. “We need that password.” Mace could tell Ryker’s curiosity was starting to get the better of him, and when it did, he usually was like a detective who wouldn’t quit.

“Let’s give it a rest and check out another part of the attic,” suggested Dad. Mace shrugged his shoulders.

“Dad, I’m going to stay here and go through all these boxes,” said Ryker.

“Okay. Mace, come check out this old kitchen with me.”

Mace trudged down the hall with his Dad, and they started poking around in the old kitchen. Time flew by. His dad joked about turning the old house into a museum and making a few bucks off it.

Dad’s watch lit up. He glanced at it. “It’s been four hours. Your mom brought us something from the local salad shop to eat.”

“Good. I’m hungry,” declared Mace.

“Let’s go check on Ryker,” suggested Dad.

They went back to the old computer room. Ryker was trying passwords that he’d found in an old diary.

“Hey, Ryker, it’s dinnertime,” said Dad.

“Just one last password.” He typed it in. The computer flashed! It worked.

“Ooooo!” exclaimed Mace. They all huddled around the screen as it came to life. A word document flicked open.

“What does it say?” asked Mace.

Dad laughed. “The Great American Novel.”

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