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Hanging Out, BFF

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"Hi, I'm a Mac."

"And I'm a PC."

It was like this whenever they met. Always on a stage, in front of an invisible crowd. When Mac got philosophical about such things (as a self-aware piece of machinery was wont to do on occasion), he wondered if they even existed at all without an audience.

"That's a nice outfit," he said politely to PC, who was in what Mac considered a snazzy suit.

"Do you think so?" said PC dubiously. "I keep finding myself wearing it, no matter what I start out in. It just kind of... pops on, and I can't do anything else until I change. I'm not sure it's my color."

"Nah. You look good in blue."

"Really?" PC looked doubtful. "People use the words 'of death' to describe this particular shade of screen. That doesn't really seem very positive to me."

"I've got a beach ball of death. Don't get to play with it much, though. Do you want it?" Mac caught the brightly colored toy that always seemed to drop in out of nowhere and turned to bounce it toward PC.

"My graphics card can't handle it without an upgrade," said PC morosely. "I don't have time to play, anyway. I'm using all I've got just to operate at basic levels."

Mac had already let go of the ball, and it bounced off PC, who waved his arms at it ineffectually as it rolled away.

"I need to reboot," said PC, and wandered away to do so.

Mac shrugged and amused himself with his dashboard, watering and grooming his little chia pet, watching his lava lamp widget for a bit, and playing a quick game of minesweeper.

"Hey, I've got that!" said PC, looking over Mac's shoulder upon his return. "I thought I was the only one."

"Nope. I can have just everything you can," said Mac cheerfully. "Do you want to play some World of Warcraft? We can hit the Deadmines."

"No, thanks. I don't have time tonight. I just downloaded a new service pack, and now I need to update my drivers." PC sighed heavily. "You know how it is. You upgrade, and nothing works anymore.

"Yeah, sure," said Mac. "I mean, not personally. I don't have that problem."

"I don't have that problem," grumbled PC in a mocking tone. "How nice for you."

"Aw, don't be like that, PC," said Mac. "Come on. You've got good stuff going on, too. Like...." Mac had to stop to think about what he'd heard that was good. For all their differences, he really did like the big guy and wanted to help him feel better about himself, if he could. "I understand you're very secure."

"Safety is important," answered PC solemnly. "I do like having my bodyguard around."

"Where is he? Taking some time off?"

"No. He's right over there." PC pointed just off screen. "Fighting incoming viruses."

Just then, what looked like several ninja stars on first glance (but turned out to be a few sharpened, recycled sticks of RAM) flew by, narrowly missing both Mac and PC.

"Wow. Your guy almost got you there, PC." Mac lowered his arms from in front of his face, where he'd flung them to protect himself from the missiles. "I thought he was supposed to be protecting you?"

"Yeah." PC stood up slowly from where he had thrown himself down on the ground. "Sometimes he gets a little, uh, overzealous with the protection."

"You are interacting with a foreign operating system. Cancel or allow?"

"Allow. Allow, allow, allow," answered PC, clearly exasperated. It was clear that he had been repeating himself for some time already. "I already told you. Mac is partially compatible. Our early graphic user interfaces were vaguely similar."

"So that means you're family?" Vista Security lowered his sunglasses and peered over the tops of them at PC and Mac. "Huh."

"What?" asked Mac and PC in unison.

"Nothing. I just wouldn't have guessed you were related," said Vista Security. "Suggestive tone. Cancel or allow?"

"Cancel!" said PC quickly. "It's a very distant relation. Shut down that line of thought right now."

"Shutting down current thought mode. Cancel or allow?"

"Allow. Definitely allow."

"What's he talking about, PC?" asked Mac, having a somewhat difficult time following the conversation. He wasn't quite fluent in some software that was Windows-specific in its programming, and thought he was misunderstanding.

PC fidgeted a bit, straightening his tie and smoothing down his hair. "Nothing. Sometimes I get a little spyware infestation and it installs some unauthorized adult content. Nothing to worry about."

"Well, no. Not for me. I don't get that stuff, so I don't have to worry."

PC rolled his eyes at Mac's smugness, which was not lost on Mac, who only wanted to hang out anyway. He hadn't meant to be annoying, but sometimes it was hard not to offend PC.

"I guess I'll go see if Linux wants to do something," he said, shrugging and making a motion toward leaving.

A snort from PC stopped him. "Linux," he scoffed. "Linux will just make you work for him. He's not low maintenance, like us."

"Sarcasm filter on. Cancel or allow?" interjected Vista Security.

"What? I'm not being sarcastic. Cancel." PC turned to Mac. "Why does he think I'm being sarcastic?"

"I don't know, PC. Maybe he just feels like there's more maintenance going on than you do. Linux is kind of demanding," Mac admitted. "He's really interesting, though. Has a lot of good stories to tell. You should spend more time with him."

PC, eyes downcast, scuffed at the floor with the toe of his wingtip shoe. "I don't think he likes me."

Mac clapped his buddy on the shoulder. "Aw, come on, man. That's not true. You guys just need to get to know each other better. Let's go make some cookies to take to him. That's something we've all got in common, right?"

"Yeah, okay." PC gave a sad little sigh and let Mac lead him away.

Vista Security followed behind them.

"Cookies. Cancel or allow?"