The Big Scam

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I had always been quite a reasonable person. I’d never been the type to believe in miracles or fairytales, or any kind of god. It was always quite obvious to me that nature was ruled by rational laws, relationships between causes and effects that you could predict given enough data. I watched with an amused eye people fall prey to the psychological gimmicks of psychics, and was quick to bark furiously at anyone who’d dare bring up horoscopes. Magic had never been more than a cheap trick in stories, or a kind of agility show for children.

So when I first read about that supposed true wizard on the internet, I of course dismissed them without a second thought. There were so many different people online trying to take advantage of you. But for some reason, this one got me thinking. I don’t think anything special about them captivated me. I just couldn’t shake them out of my mind. It was probably because their claims were so mind-bogglingly ridiculous and absurd. It seemed that they weren’t even trying to be believable let alone convincing. A part of me  kept wondering: how could anyone ever believe such things? And why would you even say them in the first place? Wouldn’t a scammer aim at trying to persuade people?

I was fully aware that some cults convinced people of pretty much anything. But that was after training and indoctrination… Would anyone ever really listen to someone who promised to cast spells on them through their computer?

And such a ridiculous spell that was… Not just a “good luck” charm or some nebulous thing you couldn’t really check. No, something way more impressive and impossible than that. The wizard promised you to switch bodies with someone else. The stupidest, laziest, commonest plot device ever created. The failure would be very clear very fast… How on earth did they expect to pull that off? Would they pretend that my screen is casting magical waves? That my keyboard is emanating mana?

I guess I was curious about how far they’d push this absurdity. That must have been why I checked out this link. I wanted to know how they’d defend it. There was no harm in taking a sceptic interest.

“This, said their words I read on the screen, is more real than you’d think. And it is no cheap trick like you see in movies. This is the real deal. If you agree, you’ll fully switch body with another person. That means all of their body. You’ll get their legs and arms, but also their brain, including their memories. And you’ll give up everything you are. You will, in a way, exchange lives. You will become somebody else, you’ll think differently, feel differently. Your will experience life in a way completely foreign to you.”

Of the actual method, little was said. That did little but spike my curiosity. So I agreed to try it. After all, what wrong could it do? It was not as if anything was actually going to happen.

And yet a part of me was hoping for something. Despite myself and all reason, I could not get rid of a trace of anticipation as I followed the progress of the process: initialization, loading, processing… What the hell would be happening? I kept looking at my screen, at my arms, at my legs, as if to make sure I was still there. But obviously, nothing around me was changing.

The “spell” was still underway. Any moment now, I was supposed to be completely changed. To have everything about me totally altered… To live inside someone else’s flesh, see the world through their brain. There were a few more seconds of waiting…

And then nothing. The words “COMPLETE” on the screen, in sober black letters. Not even the pretense of something happening, a cool visual effect, an audio cue… What a letdown… Even with low expectations, this was surprisingly anticlimactic.

You did not feel anything special. You were just the same as you had always been and remembered being. You looked at your arms, your legs, your body… but nothing showed the slightest sign of change. Your memories and thoughts were still your own. Even your clothes were still the one you picked hastily this morning…

What a scam! It was probably your bad for thinking a person on the other side of the planet could have any kind of effect on your body… Maybe they didn’t even exist and they were just an algorithm… With a sigh, you turned away from your screen. But in a corner of your mind, you kept wondering what it would be like if the spell had actually worked. How exactly would that feel? What if you did switch bodies long ago and simply forgot about it?

One thought on “The Big Scam

  1. Pingback: Short stories index | AMadManWithABlog

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