All Stories, General Fiction

Delete Browsing History by Diane M Dickson


I love my computer; the hours and hours we spend together. Locked in the semi-darkness of the office, everyone else in bed, while the fire ticks and spits and becomes glowing dust.

I checked my e-mails, updated my website and transferred some money into my savings account. The main purpose of tonight’s work though has been an article for the local newspaper, a “My life and times” that sort of thing, living in the sixties.  It was fun and now I’m not ready for bed.  My mind is buzzing, too much mental stimulation. Another brandy will be one too many, and I don’t want herbal tea.

Still, I should shut down but first the routine, clear cache; delete cookies and clear browsing history.  Clear browsing history, I click the Wiki tab, it’s still there.  Kennedy – pages and pages of information. Kennedy as a surname, the Kennedy clan, the Kennedy Space Centre and of course John F Kennedy: 35th President of the United States.

I am of the generation who remember, I remember exactly. I was sitting at the dining table doing my maths homework. The news bulletin interrupted the usual broadcast.

“There is a report coming in from America that President Kennedy has been shot. We will bring you more news as we have it,” or words to that effect. The world stopped for a moment, we looked at each other blankly, my parents and I.

“It’ll be a hoax, it always is.” That was my dad.

So we waited. We didn’t wait long. The rest of the night’s viewing was a woman playing sad music on a grand piano. Yes I remember. I remember the horrible empty feeling, someone young and handsome with a glamorous wife, little children. There was a barely understood sense of threat.  I recall even now the wishing that it hadn’t happened.

Delete browsing history – The devil is on my shoulder. I know, yes I know I shouldn’t do it but I do. I am a member and have entered bits of information in the past but always with care and diffidence but tonight, tonight I have a madness in me. I go to my user page. I tell myself there is no way this will get through. Anyway it’s only a bit of fun. My fingers write the article.

“John Fitzgerald Kennedy: 35th President of the United States narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Dallas, Texas.

The president was travelling in a motorcade through the city streets with the First Lady on November 22nd 1963. A shot was fired from the Texas School Book Depository and officers on the scene quickly surrounded the building. The body of a male who was later identified as Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee of the Book Depository, was found alongside an upstairs window his dead fingers clutching a high calibre rifle. At post-mortem it was discovered that Oswald had suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage which was probably brought on by the high level of stress. A mass was held shortly after the incident to give thanks for the safety of the President and First Lady.

It was later found that Oswald was acting on his own and that he had an obsession with Jacqueline Kennedy. He had been known to tell friends that she should have married him. His rooms were full of pictures and memorabilia of her life from her childhood to the day of his death.

I realise that this will probably mean that I will never be able to post on Wiki again but as I said madness has taken me or maybe it’s just the juice of the grape. My fingers press the send button. Immediately I regret it but it’s too late. It’s gone.

Shit! Why did I do that?

Oh well, no real harm done the Editors will censor it immediately, and I can convince them that I was writing fiction and submitted in error. The fire has cooled and tiredness has overcome the madness. I turn off and go to bed…


The clock alarm is a nasty intrusion but flips quickly to the news bulletin as I struggle to open my eyes.

“Good Morning. This is BBC News on Monday 6th June 2011. This is Alex Salmon. It has been announced in the last few minutes that John F Kennedy, former president of the United States, who served two terms in the early sixties has died today aged ninety four. President Kennedy will be mainly remembered as the driving force behind the Lunar Exploration missions and it is generally accepted that had it not been for his personal drive and enthusiasm, colonisation of the moon would never have been possible.”

I open my eyes to a strange room. This is my home but not my home there are subtle differences. The photographs on the bedside cabinet are still there but they are altered. I pick them up one by one. My husband and myself at our wedding. The baby ones, school ones. The children’s graduation they are all slightly askew, the gowns are different colours and my son looks different. I shake my head, bad idea. I must leave the brandy alone.

The flat screen television inexplicably glows into life and there is the huge image of my boy. The background is strange, darkness surrounds him.

“Hi Mum, hope I didn’t wake you. I thought I’d give you a quick call before I go to work. We are outside today so you won’t be able to Vid me. Are you okay?”

“Simon, where are you?”

“What? How do you mean where am I? I’m at work,” he laughs.

“Yes, but where are you?”

“Mum, have you been on the sauce again?! I’m at work – Lunar Module three. I’m outside today. Kitty and the kids send their love. We’re looking forward to seeing you next week. Cape Canaveral approved our leave. Have some steaks ready for a barbecue. Got to go, see you next week. Bye”

What have I done?


Diane M Dickson


Banner Image:  Dealey Plaza, Dallas Texas.  – Michael Barera [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

6 thoughts on “Delete Browsing History by Diane M Dickson”

  1. This dramatic story is as unique as they get! We can all relate to sitting at our computer but after that, you’ve taken a path that only you could imagine. Weird and wonderful. Super ending! June


  2. Hi Diane, you have tapped into a topic that interests so many people due to the subject matter. If he had lived…Well thoughts of what could have been is something that we all can ponder!! I have mentioned this to you before and if anyone is reading this, please have a listen to ‘Abraham, Martin And John’ by the legend that is Marvin Gaye.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea behind this Diane. Exactly my kind of story and really well executed as always. What’s not to like? (and even if there was something negative it’ll all be rewritten in time…)


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