Dr. Fellows is en route when his secretary calls to fax him his visitor's permit to see Albert Brock at the Meadowbrook Mental Institute. His son then calls to ask for his allowance. After talking to him briefly, Dr. Fellows goes to the institute and enters an isolated cell where there is none of the daily sounds of modern life. Brock emerges from the shadows and explains that he kicked the radio to death to ensure that there was silence in his cell. Brock introduces himself as the murderer, but explains he only kills machines.
Brock takes Dr. Fellows' lapel phone, bites it, and damages it beyond repair. When Dr. Fellows points out that he'll be billed for the destruction. Brock insists he doesn't care and then places the doctor's tape recorder in the water pitcher. Dr. Fellows asks why he hates machines, and Brock explains that originally, he had no problem with telephones. When he was 16, he received one of the first videophones, and nobody else had one. Eventually, Emily Foster, an attractive girl, got one and they talked for a while. However, Brock insists that after a while, the telephone drains the personality of the speaker and you've made an enemy. When Dr. Fellows insists that phones are necessary, Brock says that machines are like spoiled kids demanding attention.
Brock describes how when cell phones came into use, they were originally only supposed to be for emergencies. But soon people used them for everything, interrupting actual human interaction. And if it wasn't cell phones, it was VCRs and movies and televisions, all coming at people from all directions. Brock gets angry at the thought until Dr. Fellows asks him to calm down and finish the story.
Brock goes on to describe how soon, his entire life was ruled by machines. His wife would call him at work, he would receive endless faxes, and then clients would call to tell him to ignore the faxes they just sent. Brock went berserk and ripped up the faxes, and scream under the covers when his wife would practice Spanish using headphones. The next afternoon, he poured a pitcher of coffee into the video phone. He admits that it helped. At lunch, his lapel phone rang and he smashed it. He decided to conduct a one-man revolution against machines when he discovered that there were machines trying to contact him everywhere he went. He poured a chocolate milk shake into his car's fax machine and then enjoyed an hour of freedom.
When Dr. Fellows talks of how the sounds make a symphony, Brock explains his theory of passive listening. He went home and bought an electric interference machine on the way. Surrounded by people on their cell phones, Brock turned on the device and began shorting out everyone's electronic devices, laughing manically. The police triangulated on him and proceeded to fine him and confiscated the device.
Dr. Fellows notes that Brock's plan wasn't very sensible, and asks why he didn't form a protest group. Brock admits that no one else wanted to protest: they all liked the electronic cacophony. Dr. Fellows tells him that he was selfish but Brock insists that the majority went too far. Now they're prisoners of progress, manacled to machines.
Next, Brock bought a gun and went home. His wife Agnes was hysterical because she was out of touch with him for three hours. Brock began shooting all the electronic devices in the house. Finally the police arrived and arrested him.
Dr. Fellows points out that Brock was destroying personal and public property, but the man insists he would do it all again and is ready to accept the consequences. Brock insists that he's the vanguard of a segment of the population that hates noise and the invasion of their privacy. He refuses to give Dr. Fellows a chance to rehabilitate him and insists that thanks to the worldwide coverage, people will start tuning out. All Brock wants to do now is go back to his nice, quiet cell, and he refuses to say anything else.
Dr. Fellows goes out into the hall where he's hit anew by the barrage of electronic music and noise. He goes outside and finds that it's even louder. Back at his office, he tells his secretary to replace his lapel phone and goes into his office. The inspector wants an immediate report. Fellows' son calls, and a messenger arrives. Dr. Fellows finally bites down on his own lapel phone and then asks his secretary to bring him a chocolate milk shake. Share this article with your friends