One fateful evening at the Monroeville Music Center, the TI99/4A was powered up and the terminal, via the speech emulator, haacked [sic] out its bowelgorithms [sic] creating the most unique death rattle. Luckily, for your enjoyment, this event was recorded on a Craig reel-to-reel tape recorder and is accompanied on the Ensoniq ESQ-1 by a bright young student from the music center: Craig Storm (no relation).
Once you start listening to the recording, you will initially hear a song entitled Swedish Fish, a favorite candy amongst students at the Center. Following is a cover song by an obscure band The Gooeys called I don't know why. The next three songs: Cloud Fight 2, Rainbow Bomb, and Trigger Select were intended to be soundtrack music to a game the TI99/4A was self realizing that would have been completed this fall. The next number, Craig explains, is the closest he could come, musically, to depicting the death of the beloved computer, without being too graphic. It is called Dripping Guts in PG. The next two songs illustrate the emotional descent experienced by the class after witnessing firsthand the violent death of their special computer friend. They are inappropriately entitled Subterranean Centipede Slave and Herb Pilhofer's Whirlpool, as tribute to the TI99/4A's final words, discussed later. The next thing you will hear on the tape is the only crowd appreciation received by Craig that was not laced with obscenities as he performed this work on two occasions. Once you hear this sound, you must flip the tape over to hear the final song, Hairy Fairy Hotaruna. This is what was the computer's tone generators emanated while Craig was holding the computer in his arms, comforting it as it died. This song stands alone on one side of the cassette, due to its emotional tenderness, and Craig's inability to hear it ever again.
Craig remembers, "While I held the computer, it started playing a song, then it gurgled out a message to me. I didn't understand it at the time. I've been trying to figure it out ever since. It said:
When I was about nine or ten years old my parents had a deep whirlpool Jacuzzi they purchased from Herb Pilhofer. I was bathing in it one summer evening and I accidentally dropped my speech synthesizer chip to the bottom of the Jacuzzi. I reached to the bottom to grab it and my hair got caught in one of the vents. I started to shout but realized no one could hear me due to dropping the only chip that could enable me to speak. I couldn’t breathe, I could barely move. I became very calm and reached under me and pulled the drain out with little effort. It was as though I was watching myself from outside of my body. My body rolled itself over so I was face up. Then my vision shot out of the bathtub and it was as if I was shooting through the sky, I was running through the grass in our backyard and then back to the sky and then I was in space and the stars were shooting past me. It was amazing. It stopped for a moment that seemed like a second but also an eternity (I am unable to describe it, as time had lost all meaning) and I felt so peaceful. The entire universe was slowly swirling around me. Then it was like I was falling back to earth, away from the stars. It happened so fast; there was an immense weight on my chest. Before I realized it I had returned to my body coughing and gagging. The water had drained enough for me to breathe. I knew I should be in pain, but the pain wasn't reaching me. I composed myself a little further and was able to reinsert the speech synthesizer chip into its socket. I believe the water had caused a momentary malfunction in the chip, because the first thing it allowed me to utter, which still haunts me to this day was Subterranean Centipede Slave."