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  • It had been a busy day.
    Jacob was teething and wearing me down more than normal. Baby bedtime had arrived and my smiles and enthusiasm had faded.
    By the time I sat down to have my ‘me’ time,
    my cowbird time,
    I was already drained and my eyelids felt heavy.

    I was halfway though reading Zizzo's complete story when the comfort of the
    cosy, cushy
    laid back
    computer chair overtook me.
    I stretched back,
    feet dangling
    and fell asleep.
    Computer on,
    Zizzo alive.

    I was dreaming.
    A whirly cowbird,
    Zizzo,
    Kiki,
    computer,
    Stuart,
    typing,
    Robert,
    storytelling dream.
    Something was just forming, fizzing, crackling in my brain cells when
    “George”
    and a shake on my shoulder.
    “Come on, let’s get you to bed.”
    An abrupt awake and I was led up the soft carpeted stairs to
    proper, deep, bed enclosed, non dreaming sleep.
    Crackling computer left on, guzzling overnight electricity.
    Buzzing away.
    Boyfriends never turn things off.

    I don’t see why this impossible number and her friends should have all the fun. What is so special about her to have all these stories? To have all these different people writing about her? I am more important. Me, Noci, the computer icon. Everybody knows that computers are better than numbers. I am quicker, better, electric. I am binary! All these people should be writing about me, not this Zizzo.

    The next morning I was feeling a lot better but still a little tired. All my chores were done and all my lists completed. My morning coffee drunk, I sat back in the computer chair. Jacob was happily occupied in bouncer with dingle dangles and teething gel in place.
    I noticed that the computer was still on and cowbird open.
    “Why did your daddy not turn the computer off last night?” I ask aloud to Jacob, only to be ignored in favour of the tumble drier.
    I looked at the desktop and there,
    quite clear,
    bright,
    fuzzy,
    spiking
    and smiling
    was an incorrigible icon.

    I do not know a lot about computers but even I know that an icon that has appeared overnight cannot be good news.
    The icon smirked at me.
    It cannot be good news at all.
    Unsure what to do I clicked back to cowbird to finish Zizzo’s story but
    but
    but something is very wrong.
    The story had changed.
    I know I fell asleep but I am sure the name was Zizzo. I started to read and in every place I expect to read Zizzo I found the name Noci. That must be my incorrigible icon.
    “I know this has something to do with you” I said aloud. Jacob looked over to me and smiled; I am suddenly more interesting than dingle dangles and the tumble drier.
    “Not you lovely boy, it’s this incorrigible icon”
    A smirk again emerged from the fuzzy spiky icon.
    I paused for a moment, unsure what to do. The coffee was wearing off quicker than normal and the teething was catching up with me again.

    At the same time:
    Email to: Cowbird Central
    Email from: Kiki, Stuart and Robert
    Dear cowbird,
    We are all very confused. We have all worked together to write a story about Zizzo but when we came to read it again this morning the name has changed to Noci.
    It is very strange.
    Please can you can look and see if there is a gremlin in the website?
    Many thanks
    Storypedia creators


    My eyes closed again.
    The big computer chair enveloped around me.
    Jacob was safe, being baby sat by the tumble drier and ensconced in his comfy bouncer.
    I was still a little tired.
    Perhaps a nap would help solve this problem, after all, it seems it was sleep that created it.

    I dream.
    A clear, concise dream.
    I created Noci so I can get rid of him. I see the smirking spiking icon in my mind. But how? How to delete a computer icon?
    My brain is creating another picture, it is too pixelated at first and I can’t make it out. It is grey and green. It is coming into focus. I can see arrows. I can see.... that’s it! A recycling bin!
    The smirk has gone from Noci. A grimace.
    The recycling bin icon is now big and clear, in HD clarity. I smile.
    I use the white arrow and drag and drop a jiggling and frustrated Noci into the bin. I smile.
    A computer cannot outsmart a human brain, not today at least.

    “Urglhurgle, Bpupt, Bput, Yeept”
    My eyes sprung wide open. Jacob was talking to the tumble drier, telling it all about his morning.
    “I’m here lovely boy, don’t worry” He ignored me and decided to grab the green dingle dangle instead.
    I looked at the computer, the incorrigible icon had gone.
    I clicked back to cowbird.
    The story had changed again, back to Zizzo. Thank goodness. I hope that nobody noticed.

    Five minutes later:
    Email to: Kiki, Stuart and Robert
    Email from: Cowbird Central
    Dear cowbirders,
    Thank you for the email but we are not really sure what you are talking about.
    We have just read the story (and very good it is too – well collaborated!) and it only mentions Zizzo. We can find no mention of the word Noci on cowbird. We don’t seem to have any gremlins in the system.
    If it happens again please let us know and we will investigate further.
    Many thanks
    The cowbird team


    In Mexico, England and Wales there sit some happy, but confused, cowbirders.

    And in a recycling bin on a computer, somewhere, is Noci, plotting to get out.....
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