Children screamed out in terror, loved ones embraced for the very last time, molten liquid scorched and disfigured every fibre it touched as it thrashed from object to object turning peaceful continents into famished islands in mere milliseconds.
Entire generations were obliterated, their lineage ascending into tale and legend, never to be witnessed in physical form again. How had one man and his imaginary friend managed to achieve such desolation?
One Minute Previous.
“It’ll be great Patrick you’ll see”, I chirped aloud as I skipped into the kitchen and swung one of the cupboards wide open. “We’ll edit the book, print the book and then post the book to every house in the entire world. Simples”. “They’ll think it’s a gift Patrick”, I continued. “We’ll let them enjoy it for a while and then we’ll round up the boys and go knocking door to door with baseball bats and overdue interest charges”. “It’s grand”, I reaffirmed. “Sure I saw something similar done on the television by a burly man once”. “His name is on the tip of my tongue. It’ll come back to me in a second. Something Soprano I think”.
It was the first time a member of the general population had witnessed my pure insanity. It would not be the last.
I could sense by Patrick’s silence that he strongly disapproved. “Well Patrick!”, I snarled as I filled the kettle with water and flicked the switch on it’s handle before he had a chance to answer. “If YOU’RE so smart, why don’t YOU tell me what to do!!”
(Outside in the car park, a mother battling overflowing shopping bags and two restless children look up at our apartment window and saw me arguing profusely with myself. It was the first time a member of the general population had witnessed my pure insanity. It would not be the last).
Noticing that I was clearly flustered and losing my patience, Patrick whispered softly and reassuringly, trying to coax me in the right direction.
“Online Master”, he said. “Try and build a presence on the internet”.
“The Interweb?!”, I replied. “Is that not where all those spiders live!” “I’m terrified of those little bastards Patrick! You know I am”. “I once caught one of the little buggers rallying a troop against me”. “Eight legs Patrick”, I continued. “Eight legs and eight telephones”. “In less than twenty minutes the little tyrant had mustered a sizeable army by anyone’s standards”. “It can’t happen again!” “I won’t allow it”.
A block of cheddar Patrick”, I said aloud. “We shall begin our preparations.
Patrick interjected. “No Master you misunderstand”. “Digital spiders are what we need”. “Google sends them forth every six weeks to scour the web looking for new and relevant content”. “We must create some content Master”. “We must get the spiders’ attention”.
Patrick was right. Dammit he was always right!
“We’ll try your plan Patrick”, I replied. “We’ll give it a go”.
As the kettle came to a boil, I pulled down a cafetière and heaped six large spoons of coffee into it’s base. We had a lot of work to do and we needed our utmost focus and attention if we were to have any chance of succeeding.
I poured the boiling water down over the mound of granules and filled the jug to it’s designated water line. Steam bellowed out from it’s nostrils as I placed the lid on top and waited for the coffee to brew.
“Prepare for the spiders”, I thought to myself as I plunged the jugs lever and began to fill my cup. “I wonder if they have a leader?”. “I wonder if they have a King?”. “Yes”, I continued. “The King of the Google spiders”. “We shall prepare a special feast for him”. I pondered if he liked cheese. I assumed he did. Who didn’t like cheese? “A block of cheddar Patrick”, I said aloud. “We shall begin our preparations”.
I finished filling my cup and began walking across the room towards the desk. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something peculiar. A small number of insects appeared to be scurrying away as fast as their legs could carry them. They reached the living room wall and were trying in vein to scale as high as they could. “That’s strange”, I said to Patrick as I took a step closer to the desk and it’s awaiting chair. “It’s almost as if they’re evading a predator. It’s like they’re trying to get to higher ground”.
A massacre had just occurred and I was the orchestrator at the centre of it all.
At that, a fly whizzed by the side of my face making a beeline (see what I did there?) towards it’s opening in an apparent effort to escape.
“Did that fly just scream ‘SAAAAAVE YOURSEEEEEEELVES!!’?, I asked Patrick. “Nah! It must be my imagination”. “Sure flys can’t scream!”.
I discarded the thought and sat down in front of the computer. “What a feast this is going to be!”, I said as I entered my login details and waited for the operating system to load up.
That’s when it happened.
Suffering from pure adrenaline and excitement I completely forgot about my cup filled with coffee balancing haphazardly at the edge of the desk. Without realising, I raised my left arm forward in an attempt to adjust the volume settings on the keyboard and caught the top of the cup in the process.
My world went into slow motion.
As the cup began to tip at a ninety degree angle, Patrick started to scream.
“NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”, he roared in terror as the negative syllables burst out from the depths of his lungs, each one horrifically heavier than the last.
Oceans upon oceans of coffee (or one cup) spilled into the air as the ceramic vessel spiralled out of control in every direction imaginable.
I didn’t notice.
As chaos personified erupted all around, all I could focus on were Ciara’s screaming work documents and mood boards staring straight up at me. Inanimately paralysed, I watched as wave upon wave of scolding hot coffee covered their faces and sent them to their premature watery graves. I couldn’t bare to look. The more the coffee enveloped them, the more disfigured they became. What once had been neatly organised and regimental stacks of client schematics and drawings had now been turned into moaning mushes of brown disgusting slop.
I didn’t think it could get any worse but that’s when I saw it. A small pocket notebook hidden directly beneath the floating corpses. My worst fears had been realised. I would now be branded as a baby notebook killer.
As the murky waters began to recede, I placed my fingertips on the eyelids of the dearly departed and closed them out of respect.
A massacre had just occurred and I was the orchestrator at the centre of it all. Holding the lifeless baby notebook in my clutches I raised my head towards the heavens and screamed at the top of my lungs.
“WHY HAVE I BEEN FORSAKEN!!!!! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!”
My peril had just begun. I now had to pick up the telephone and break the news to Ciara. I wondered how she’d take it.