Egads, what sorcery is this?

March 20, 2014, 3:16 PM UTC
Illustration: Jason Schneider

It was dark. I was suddenly aware of movement beneath my feet. The barge had left its mooring. Time passed. I smelled warm earth and … asparagus? We weren’t at Treasure Island anymore. I accessed my wearable Bing Tech. “Stockton, Calif.,” said the GPS. Impossible. Nothing happened in Stockton. Ever. Was there even water there?

The pinpoint lasers atop my Bing Cowl tried to pierce the darkness, but no. It was resolute, almost solid. All right, then. Into the void I would go.

Step by step I made my way forward. And then I heard it. A low tone, humming. And then, a glimmer. No, a definite glow. I waited for my eyes to adjust themselves. And then I saw it. Him. One could barely comprehend the scale in one glance. Up and up and up he went, this … creature. This monster. One. Two. Four stories high. The height of the structure itself. So this is what they were hiding.

His legs were as thick as tree trunks, his feet in shoes the size of those new Fiat 500Cs, the ones that come with no spare tire but a little fix-it kit instead, which, I don’t know about you, I don’t consider an improvement. His barrel of a midsection was topped by a massive neck even bigger than those of the Westinghouse corporate officers I used to work with back in the 1980s. His block of a head was without a hint of hair, his features large but not altogether unpleasant. He was naked except for a weathered pair of J. Crew cargo pants cut off at the thighs to make room for his titanic leg muscles. I thanked my stars that he was shackled, his arms akimbo, chin resting lightly on his gently heaving chest.

“Magnificent, isn’t he?” said a small, lightly accented voice to my right. I turned to see a slender, rather handsome young man in a white lab coat. The eyes behind his Google glasses were deeply intelligent but tinged with a hint of madness. “Sergey,” I said. “I should have known I would find you here.”

“He was so promising … so lovable, actually, when he was small,” the young scientist continued, executing a few strokes on a small keypad embedded in his forearm. The creature groaned, then settled in again. “If he gets much larger, we will have to build an office tower just to house him.”

“What do you call him?” I asked. But I knew the answer before the question left my lips.

“Big Data,” said his master.

Big Data, of course. Big Data. They had him. But … what would they do when he truly awoke? If he fell into the wrong hands? “We grew him, God forgive us,” said the man in the white coat. “And now … now, I’ll be honest with you … we have no real idea what to do with him. He is built to rule the world!” His eyes lit up then with a certain unsettling glee. “But what do we do with all of it? And … and … he keeps … getting … bigger.” I saw the awe and terror in his eyes. And I, too, was afraid.

And then, as quickly as the opening of a ginormous eye, the monster awoke. “Hi, Stan,” came a rumble from the center of the beast. It was still groggy, but his smoldering gaze was full upon me. “Did you take your Prilosec?”

“Huh?” I said.

“You have to reorder the Gillette Fusion blades too,” it continued. “And your automatic pay on your mortgage is set to expire in 45 days.” It seemed to slumber for a moment, and then added, “It’s quite possible you’re going to be audited by the IRS this year.”

There was a vast silence in the cavernous barge. And then I left. “You don’t want to know what’s in there,” I told Commissioner Borden the next day. “It’s contained, for now. We just have to hope it never gets out.”

Stanley Bing’s new book, The Curriculum, an affordable alternative for those who wish to avoid the pain and expense of business school, will be published by HarperCollins in April. Check out his website at

This story is from the April 7, 2014 issue of Fortune.