Thursday, August 30, 2012

Proper Order

I was also rather enjoying the sensation of having
one fingertip gently warming in my nosehole

I saw the nosehole lady while I was standing at the traffic lights waiting for the green man. She was sitting a few cars back picking away at her her nose. She was really going for it, like looking for her wedding ring down the back of a couch. She turned and caught my eye and, embarassed for her, I looked away. When I snuck a glance back at her she was still looking at me and still picking her nose. It felt a bit strange, locked into a staring match with one whose face has been slightly distorted by having the bulk of a finger forced into her nasal cavity. I watched as she kept on rooting. The whole area around her left eye and cheekbone moved in circular contortions as she went at it. It struck me that she might be quite pretty, were it not for this self-imposed, facial palsy. Her straight, jet-black hair and dark eyes; her slim and genteel bone structure; her flush, pouting lips and her index finger, three knuckles deep in centre of her face. The lights changed and turning her head, she sped away but something of her remained with me, like perfume in an empty room.

I couldn't shake her from my head. The strength of her. A woman, so bravely independent that she could publicly dig for snot whilst strangers looked on. I felt I knew myself - my buried shames and guilty secrets - could I be so free? Could I discard pretence in the face of another's naked gaze. I determined to try it that very day. Sitting at the bus stop, I put a finger up my nose and started staring at this young one sitting next to me. She gave me a dirty look and walked away but I felt I had achieved something.  I resolved to keep my finger there and see how much of this new freedom I could allow myself. When the bus came, I hopped on and dropped my money in the slot but my bag slipped off my shoulder as the ticket was printing and I had to catch it with my spare hand which left me having to bring my face right down close to the machine in order that I could grab the ticket with the free fingers of my nose-hand. At this point the whole bus was looking at me like I was mental so I gave them all a little wave with the free fingers of my nose-hand to put them at their ease. I sat down near the back, across the aisle from a mammy and her babby. The babby had one of those huge heads you sometimes see on babbies with all the features clustered down near the bottom, just above the chin. I waggled my eyebrows and winked at the babby and it started to cry. The mammy gave me a dirty look but as she turned away I saw the babby shove its finger up its nose and go to sleep.

By the time I got home I felt I'd proved a point but I was also rather enjoying the sensation of having one fingertip gently warming in my nosehole. I found myself marvelling at how perfectly suited fingers and nostrils are to this manner of exploratory intercourse. The longer my finger remained there, the more heightened became my awareness of the inner form of my nosehole. The little hairs, the minutely contoured flesh, the little snotty balls of varying viscosity and tackiness. Sitting down on my couch, I plucked one out - a dark brown, wizened little thing like a tiny walnut. Ignoring the tinny voice of shame, I popped it in my mouth. It was a good one. Turning on the TV, I went back up my nose again.

There was a Fellini film on - Amarcord. It's that one with the Italian fascists and the fat cigarette lady with the massive knockers and the rich bird with the big arse that everybody fancies and the mentler uncle up the tree and yer man pissing down the tube and the young lads wanking in the car. It's a shite film but people still watch it. Usually they watch it so that they can talk about it at parties or to see yer one's massive knockers but they'll never admit that. I can appreciate that I guess, I mean who's going to sit through two hours of poorly contrived, subtitled dialogue delivered by a gang of the ugliest Italians you've ever seen and then tell a room full of relative strangers at some party that you only did it to see yer one's big, blue, veiny knockers?!

I was at this party once where some fella was talking about Amarcord. When all the girls started to look a bit bored he clapped me on the shoulder and told them that I had only watched it to see Italian women with big arses. They all had a good laugh at that, which was unfair because yer man didn't even know me or that I don't care tuppence for big arses. Feeling I should get one back at him, I announced to the girls how he'd said that he'd like to wear them all like finger puppets. Everybody turned on me then which was even more unfair because that was true and I didn't see why it should be me that left the party.

I change the channel and some Scandinavian film comes on. It's just a man and a woman in a kitchen. He keeps scowling at things and she just does the ironing and looks sad. I get fed up waiting for one of them to say something and switch over to Bravo for Men where some guy is going on about motorbikes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Hegs

I'd a terrible go of the 'Hegs' there the other day. I think it must've been after all my crying up in the office of the ombudsman's ombudsman but I was hegging all over the place afterwards, I just couldn't shake it. The first one came when I was on the tram. It was pretty crowded and I was standing with my armpit in some young one's face and this pair of middle aged women were chatting about the menopause and looking at me and holding their bags of shopping and it was then that the first heg got me. It completely throws you. You think you've finished crying, you're not even thinking about the thing that upset you anymore and then - BOOM - out of nowhere, a Heg.
My whole body convulsed with the force of it. I nearly lost my grip on the overhead strap and everything. I felt unsteady for a moment in the rattling tram and by the time I'd straightened up everyone was looking at me like I was pure mental. I could feel the heat of colour rising in my face and took a run for the doors as soon as the tram had stopped. They're a dreadful affliction, the Hegs. It's some small grace that they're temporary, it'd be an awful thing to be going around, hegging all over the place the whole time like you'd some kind of spastic, moshpit tourettes.

The second one was even worse than the first (it almost always is). A big, shiny 4x4 pulled up while I was in the street and the daddy, who was driving, asked me the way to someplace. The mammy was in the other front seat, looking at me and wearing a tight t-shirt and big black sunglasses that made her head look like it belonged to a giant bluebottle. The two babbies were in the back, the bigger one knocking lumps out of the little one with half a GI-Joe. I was just pointing up the road and saying "You see the second traffic lights, after the first traffic lights," when the second heg got me. It rushed right up my spine in an undulating wave, shutting down nerve endings as it passed.
My knees buckled and I pitched forward, right in through the passenger side window and on to the heaving chest of the mammy. Faintly I was aware of her cries of horror but I was in the throes of it now.
Another wracking convulsion snapped me back out the window as the daddy yelled, the mammy screamed and the babbies began to cry. Then the third and final wave - the forlorn and pitious crescendo of the heg. I'd lost all control of my body now, my shoulders and upper torso heaving with dry sobs, arms flailing, hands slapping against the side of the car and the noise, oh, the noise!
With a final, outrageous spasm, one of my flapping hands ricocheted the wing mirror off the side of the jeep and into traffic. That was enough for the family, as I heard the mammy's panicked wails of "Go go go go..." dopplering away whilst the daddy accelerated off in a smoking, blaze of rubber.

As suddenly as it comes, it is gone and I am left standing, outwardly calm and collected, as though nothing at all had happened, watching the cars pass by. My hands were feeling a bit sore from where they'd gone mental on the car and I think the mammy had hurt my eye with one of her boobies so I decided that I should step into a café for a sit down. A cup of tea and maybe a little cake. I stopped into a place that was full of little old ladies and got a window seat with a pot of tea and one of those cakes that looks like a load of squashed flies sandwiched between a pair of wet cracottes. I was just taking a bite out of my cake and gazing out the window when the third heg got me. I was feeling fairly content, what with my tea and cake and a nice seat by the window but then that's the downright insidiousness of the hegs - they strike when you least expect it. The ragged, retching inhale takes down half of the oblong of confectionery and jams it firmly in my throat, at the same time throwing me forward, face first into the double-glazing.
A little scream from the waitress, gasps and worried silence from the old ladies.
"Aaaah Aaaaaah Aaaaah - Hoooaaahhh - Haaaggghhh..."
I'm on the floor now and the heg has moved seamlessly into choking territory as the morass of squashed flies and cracotte expands to entirely block my throat.
"Whoooggghh Whooooaaaghhh Heghhhhhheeeuurrrghhhh..."
Someone has me from behind now, lifting me bodily and driving a fist underneath my sternum. It is the pretty, young waitress. A sticky explosion of soft fruit and undigested pastry showers the semi-circle of tartan-clad old ladies watching my plight but I am saved. On my knees, I weep with relief. Shuffling, feet swim through my blurred vision and I feel a hand upon my shoulder consoling me. As I try to stem the tears I find myself thinking that if I'm crying again now, then I'll be hegging again later. It's an odious cycle - my psyche and my body duking it out for control whilst my head and my heart try to get on with living.
"Nnhh Nnhh Nnhh Nhh - UhUhUh..."

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Ombudsman's Ombudsman

...and something about its shape makes you feel safe

I was in the offices of the financial services ombudsman the other day to complain about the state of things and the queue was bleedin' massive. I took my ticket and sat in line and pretended not to see the aul wans who came in after me and were looking at me hoping I'd give up my seat to them because they're aul wans and I'm still young and virile and I was there ages and the smell of hoi polloi and pinstripe suits wasn't mixing well and I got a headache and in the end I just had to get up and leave and I was right too because there were still twenty-seven people ahead of me and one of the aul wans gave me a dirty look as she pounced on my seat and the whole experience was pretty awful so I went across the river to the office of the ombudsman's ombudsman to see if I could get some satisfaction there.

The office of the ombudsman's ombudsman is at the top floor of a tall, narrow building that looks a bit like Heather Mills' leg with windows. When you enter the building a man in an official looking hat nods to you and turns a key that opens a door to a lift. Inside the lift is one button with the letters OM bevelled into it. On pressing the button, the lift ascends to the sound of a Buddhist "Ommmmmmmm". Already you begin to feel more at peace - one with things. At the top floor, the door of the lift slides silently open and you step through a curtain of warm air that carries with it the tantalising edge of soothing aromas - chocolate and cinnamon; baby-head, the smell of your first love's knickers. Stepping into the room beyond, you are struck by how perfectly, pristinely white it all is. With no identifiable light source to cast shadows, it takes you a moment to see the shape that stands at its centre. You approach and something about its shape makes you feel safe. You lean against it and realise that, if you stand just so, you can slip into an effortless and comforting embrace. It is soft but strong to the touch. Your face is cradled, your body supported and suddenly you find yourself weeping. Slow, scalding tears run fat and silent down your cheeks but the shape, the space, the implacable office of the ombudsman's ombudsman does not judge you but listens calmly to your wordless complaint.

When at last you are finished. When all the anger and frustration and horror has been purged, you take the Om lift back down to the ground floor where you depart discretely, through a private rear exit.

As you quit the building a camera, mounted upon a pole across the street, takes your photo and adds you to a database of people who will have all of their financial affairs audited, visas revoked, communications disrupted and children deported because we are where we are and you need to just shut your hole complaining and put your shoulder to the wheel son! That's how we get it done in the new Ireland.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wasting Time

When you have finished reading this, stand up, turn around and leave the room. The building you are in, leave it. Get into the street and turn left. Walk for about ten minutes until you come to a right turn. Take it and walk down this road until you see a lane way on the left hand side. Go down this lane. It kicks to the left a little but keep going and you should see ahead of you an old, dirt-blackened, red-brick wall. The bright orange, panelled timber door looks completely out of place but it should be unlocked, just push it open and go inside. Ahead of you is a wide, stone staircase. Climb it, seven flights, to the very top. Pass through the low arch ahead of you and go over to the shadowy shape in the corner. Pull off the mildewed, canvas dust cover. It's a time-machine. Climb in. Set the time to about an hour before you started reading this blog and pull the lever. Now, climb out of the time-machine and, as quickly as you can, retrace your steps to the room you are currently sitting in and wait for yourself from the past to show up so that you can warn yourself not to waste any more time reading this shit.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Cat in the Hat

There's this cat, one of those dismal looking ones, like a black and brown rorschach blot - the type that go invisible in the twilight. I guess some would describe it as my cat except that it's not my cat. It's just that it happens to live at my house, shed hair all over my furniture and shit in a box in my hall. I'm not one hundred percent certain how it has come to pass that a cat is living at my house but I'd stake the juicier portion of my life that one of the women I live with had something to do with it. I tried being friends with the cat for a bit (only because the women I live with kept saying that there must be something wrong with me if I don't like the cat) but the two times I let it sit on my knee while I was watching Scrapheap Challenge, the cat started making this engine noise and then dug its claws into my legs. It's always skulking around too, trying to get back into the house whenever I throw it out. It's less agile now since I hit it with the shovel. Now the left side of its head is all flat and the right side bulges out like the front of a zeppelin. I had to tell the women I live with that it had been stood on by the neighbour's horse but they were so livid and put their coats on to go give him a piece of their minds even though it was lashing rain out that I had to say that it might have been someone elses horse that was just in the area because there was no-one riding it and it didn't have a collar or a name written on its side or anything. They calmed down a little then and I made them some tea and warmed some milk for the cat. His one good eye kept watching me and the women I live with said I was good to make the warmed milk for the cat. I didn't go with them to the vet the next morning but apparently he had a good look at the cat and said that it is very unusual that a horse would stand on the cat but that maybe it happened by accident because those types of cat go invisible in the twilight. The vet said that the cat's entire brain had actually been dislodged six centimetres to the right and it was this that was causing the unseemly bulge. The vet has since made a little aluminium hat for the cat which he has to wear over the flat side of his head as apparently the skull is now dangerously soft and discontinuous where the horse got him. I put him out of the house more than ever now because I don't like the way he looks at me with his one good eye and also because he tends to veer left when he walks and the brim of his little metal hat gouges the wallpaper. I have to be careful to close all the windows once he's out or he gets straight back in again and I usually only realise when I hear him scraping along the walls. Things aren't much better once he's outside either as he generally comes and sits at the window watching me watching Scrapheap Challenge with his one good eye. The worst of it is that his little metal hat interferes with the reception something awful and I have to watch the action through a jumping mess of snow and bits of some Welsh soap opera. Apparently this will no longer be a problem once we make the big switchover to digital television in October. Everything's going to be better then. Imagine - hundreds of TV channels at the touch of a button. Apparently there's even going to be a Scrapheap Challenge channel. That'll be great for the cat, his one good eye can watch it through the window and there'll be no signal disruption or anything. It'll probably do him the world of good seeing unlikely successes being cobbled together from broken old detritus and bits of metal. I feel like we're all in that boat a bit these days. I should tell the cat about uncertainty principle. Put him in a box and tell him that he'll be either alive or dead when I close the lid but that I won't know which until I open it. Pretend that it's a little game, then I can tape the box up and drive out somewhere remote and leave it, alone, neither dead nor alive. Yeah, I feel like we're all in that boat a bit these days.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gold Rush

It's been totally bananas here in work the last few weeks. We'd barely cleaned up the mess after Nuther Bono and his shower when we had another visitor. I think it may be that, as a high profile, cutting edge scientific research facility, we're something of a draw for arty types and people who want to be the subject of dinner-party conversations but we really do get some odd fuckers through the door. So, this latest hero - Rodney was his name, Rodney Roughbuckles from the Andromeda galaxy nonetheless. There I was, eating a fishpaste sandwich in the canteen when he materialises right on top of the subsidised buffet. I nearly shit I got such a fright. There he was, with his grey-green face and this wierd big nose and long bony fingers, flailing around in the cold meats and coleslaw. Well, security heard the racket and we very quickly got him out of the quiche and into quarantine. He looked kind of frightened as we locked him up in the hyperbaric, isolation chamber so I decided to pay him a visit - bring him some grapes and a few Beanos kind of thing. Anyway, I sat in beside him on the small bunk and as I was trying to figure out how best to communicate with him he just comes straight out and calls me a "cunt". I'm still gaping at him in disbelief when he launches another barrage of expletives my direction.
"How's it goin' Burgess y' fuckin' prick? It's fuckin' gift t' be here ah jaysus I'd kill for a rum n'
black an' some bleedin' Johnny Blue y' hairy fuckin' moose-knuckle!"

"Here, calm down you green psycho, what's with all the attitude?" I counter, trying to retain some semblance of dignity.

"Wha'? Wha's the bleedin' problem outspan, ine onlee bleeedin' sayin'?!"

Suddenly I recognised the pattern and, upon further investigation, discovered that Rodney Roughbuckle's people had learned of our planet's existence through an intercepted broadcast of "The Complete Works of Roddy Doyle - Books on Tape" from which they had also learned the rudiments of the English language. Once that little cultural hiccup had been overcome we got along swimmingly and had a good laugh about the chance conicidence that the first being he should meet with upon the planet earth would be its only living sasquatch (yours truly).

Anyway, it was at about this time that Rodney excused himself to use the facilities but assured me that he would be but a moment. After thirty minutes I felt it prudent to check on him and I received an embarrassed muttering in response to my furtive knock. I stood outside for a further two minutes, listening to the toilet flush, refill and flush again and eventually I had to insist upon being allowed inside. Poor old Rodney, his khaki coloured face was positively blue with embarassment as he impressed upon me how he never expected that our earth toilets would be incapable of dealing with his alien ugly-business.

Then my jaw hit the floor. The majesty. The pure, shining, unblemished allure and tantalising promise of the thing. "It's gold!" I gasped. Rodney cast embarressedly back over his shoulder at the glistening nugget, in size as big as a toddler's head, that was fully occupying the porcelain bowl, having displaced most of the water over the sides. "Did that come out of you?" I asked in disbelief.
Rodney looked at me a little worriedly. "Gold? It's fuckin' shite to me pal. Seems to have bust yer jax too but sure never mind, you can get yer aul wan to clean it out, it'll be graaannd, lez gerra jayzus pint afore I die a d thirst."
"I'll be out to you in a minute Rodney" I murmured, indicating that he should wait outside. As soon as I was alone, I grabbed a towel from the rail, and wrapping my hand in it I prodded the giant lump in the toilet. It was hard enough for gold. With a grunt I lifted it out - heavy enough for gold. Checking that Rodney was out of sight I gave it the old bite test. It was gold alright - about 8 kilos - this was hard to credit.

In hindsight, I'm a little ashamed of how I acted, smuggling Rodney's bum gold away to my dormitory. Bringing him out every night for Guinness and Kebabs and keeping plenty of fibre in his diet. In two weeks I had earned a year's salary from Rodney's dragon-eggs but I was beginning to feel the strains of guilt as we became closer and closer friends. What was I to do though? Everywhere we look these days we're being told how nothing is a solid investment with the exception of gold. "Gold always holds its value" is the catch-cry. It turns out I was wrong though. It turns out that when a mothership arrives carrying half a million aliens, all of whom can shit a solid 50 kilos of gold a week and who need somewhere to 'dump' it, gold really does turn out to be pure crap. Of course, the international markets couldn't tolerate such a thing and so The US Government, JP Morgan, the Jewish Conspiracy, Colonel Sanders, U2 and the Pope in lizard form intervened and authorised the use of Jupiter as a landfill. Needless to say I was found out and my gold taken from me and given to Rupert Murdoch in exchange for his various newspapers' silence on the involvement of global politicians in child sex trafficking. And that's how the world turns - all your suspicions are actually correct.

"Ah well," I thought "what use is gold anyway?" or as my fine friend Rodney Roughbuckles observed,
"Y' can't fuck it, can't ate it and y' can't drink i' til yer fuckin' sick!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dumpty Part 2 of 2

Continued from here with some reference to here and, as usual, all science bits and allusions historic and religious are true, correct and verifiable etc etc...

"Dumpty? No, it can't be!" Dr Gruman Grumbles, the closest to the hideous form on the screen staggered backward in fear and shock, his wrinkled hand pressed to his breast.

The toxicly coloured spectre rolled its little eyes and pulled faces at us from the screen.

"What is it?" hissed La Suite.

"It is Dumpty!" confirmed Dr Grumbles in a tremulous voice. "It is negative energy, coalescing in a tangible form - becoming matter essentially. Mathematically it is expressed as 'Dumpty' or the 'Ghost Coefficient'. Sometimes scientific mavericks, mathematical outcasts include it in quantum equations to account for spukhafte Fernwirkung, spooky action at a distance. For the most part we try not to speak of it. To see it take form like this - I tremble to consider the implications for this world, for the human race!"

It was then that the lights, the screens, the hissing loudspeakers, dials and meters, everything went black. Panicked cries and whimpers of fear spread through the total darkness of the room. I could feel bodies tensing around me but within moments the initial terror passed as the emergency lighting was triggered, an eery red glow that threw the features of those around me into  lurid relief.

Suddenly, the muffled thud of an explosion from somewhere overhead and the panic returned.

"Quickly!" Declared Captain La Suite charging into the corridor outside, closely flanked by his men and the tweed-clad figure of Robert Langdon. As one, I and the other scientists followed, after all, this was our high-tech underground facility. Along curving corridors and up flight after flight of concrete steps we charged until we could hear the sounds of commotion clarify into articulate voices.

"No way, I can't believe it, my wife's never going to believe this!" distinct words were drifting down the corridor to us now. "Can I just say - I loved Rattle and Hum! I haven't bothered with anything you did since then but Rattle and Hum - loved it..."

As we came thundering around the corner everyone slid to a halt. One of a group of security guards stepped through the pall of still settling dust and scattered rubble, debris from the gaping hole that had been blown in the facility's outer wall

"It's okay, it's all okay. We thought we were under attack but it was just U2 making a big entrance!"

The dust cleared enough for us to make out the four figures, silhouetted by sunlight and striking defiant poses in the haze of floating particles. Bono, The Edge and the other two.

"No!" I gasped, backing away.

"Heeeeyyyy, looook guuuuyyyys," droned Bono whimsically before blowing into the dust sending a playful little vortex streaming through it "I'm a paaaaarrrrticle acceleraaaatooorrrr!"

The last thing I saw before I turned tail and ran was Bono pulling the tight woollen bonnet from The Edge's head, exclaiming "Heeeyyyy The Edge, let your haaaiiirrr dowwwn!" Then the screaming started.

I fled headlong down the corridors trying to make sense of everything that was happening. The appearance of Dumpty, Langdon's conjecture about the involvement of clandestine organisations, Les Hommes de la Nuit and CHIPS and now the sudden appearance of U2 and with them the horrifying spectre of Nuther Bono, that demented and deformed foetal head-gnome, living parasitically on the back of The Edge's stoic and long-suffering noggin.

Through the dull red glow of CERN's winding corridors I plunged, headed for its inner sanctum and the master control system of the facility's raison d'etre, its particle accelerator. Behind me I could hear mangled snatches of warbled song reverberate off the cold concrete of the walls.
"M luff shhh thows me lak wubber ball - woooooarrnngh, swittist thng..."
Nuther Bono had started singing. That terrible sound, like pigs having sex in a draining bathtub. He was enjoying himself.
"Shhh wnt cutsh m win aaaanngh m fall - woooooarrnngh, swittist thng..."
Faster I hurtled, skidding around corners until reaching a large, steel door, I swiped my card and fell panting inside. The three scientists in the room watched with apprehension as I got to my feet. Doctor Max Beta, chief operator; Hermann Nibelungenlied, whizzbang controller and the beautiful yet darkly mysterious Doctor Scarlet Auburn, whose function at CERN I was never clear on but who certainly adds a necessary frisson of sexual energy to the place.
"It's Nuther Bono," I gasped at the three "He's back!"
The horror in their faces mirrored my own. Pushing past them I made for the main control panel and brought up a remote feed of sector 17.
"Holy Moly!" "Kualalumpur!" "Sweet sunny dildos!" The usual chorus of shock and awe rolled around as the maniacally gurning visage of Dumpty filled the screen.
"Gott in Himmler, ees zat vos I sink eet ees?" asked Dr Nibelungenlied "Zees ees inkredible!"
"It's Dumpty!" I exclaimed, gathering myself and using a system override to secure the door through which I had just come. "Dr Guy Bahgg died to warn us of this. I think he believed there was a possibility that it would fall into the wrong hands."
"You speak of Dumpty as if it were a technology" cut in Dr Beta, "but Dumpty is more entity than object. It won't simply be used or controlled, there must always be a bargain. In any hands Dumpty is bad but in some worse than others. You said Nuther Bono was here? He would be the worst!"
"There are others who seek it too - CHIPS and Les Hommes de la Nuit. They are coming!" I declared, my panic racing my words.
A knowing look passed between Beta and Nibelungenlied that I felt I understood. "They're already here aren't they?!" I added.
Beta nodded. "Les Hommes de la Nuit, at least. I am the Grand Arch-Biscuit-Grignoteur of the brotherhood and Dr Nibelungenlied here is undersecretary to the vice-treasurer." Beta must have read the flash of fear in my face for he moved to assuage me. "Do not fear my hirsute friend, we do not seek to possess or control Dumpty but merely to contain it. Perhaps you can help us."
"What about Doctor Auburn?" I asked, my suspicions not yet at ease.
Beta glanced across at Dr Scarlet Auburn who was leaning against a control panel, rolling a cocktail cherry across her pursed lips.
"Dr Auburn's role in this I am not entirely clear upon but she certainly adds a necessary frisson of sexual energy to proceedings... So, will you help us?"
"What do you need from me?" I asked, drawn along by the heady cocktail of international intrigue and Dr Auburn's steamy 'come-to-bed' glances.
"Right!" Dr Beta exclaimed, clapping his hands together before moving aside a canvas screen that had been concealing a perfect montage. Twenty-seven seconds of music and clever editing later and I knew exactly what was to be done. With Doctor Auburn cose upon my heels, I dashed out of the control room, headed for sector 16. Even as I ran I could hear just how close Nuther Bono was behind me. Beta and Niebelungenlied would have to hold the control room without me - I had to make it to the manual override auxiliary cutoff protection manual service valves if I was to have any hope of trapping the dreaded Dumpty in a temporal loop within the accelerator before blowing him back to 1983 with the explosives and detonator that I clutched in my hands.
It seemed however that Dumpty's consciousness was growing as, ahead of us, jets of boiling steam began to vent directly across our path. We would have to find another way through. Racing back we realised, too late, that we were trapped as the great, yellow-spectacled shadow of Bono loomed large upon the wall, curving away ahead of us.
"Heyyyyyyy, come on The Eeeeedge. Bring the Nuther Bono up heeerrrrre and we'll seeeeeee where that big old Sasquatch was galloping off tooooo."
Bono's voice drifting up to us gave weight to my worst fears. Not only were they coming this way but they were trying to catch me. Frozen to the spot in terror, I realised I was done for when, suddenly, a tiny figure dropped from the service pipes overhead.
"What the hell are you?" I asked, dumbfounded.
"I am CHIPS!" the little form said calmly.
"But you're chips!" I blurted out.
"That is what I said!" he replied, giving me a level stare.
"No, you're a bag of fucking chips - I can even see where your grease has made your white paper all see-through!"
I felt I might be teetering on the edge of sanity at this point but the little bag of fried potato bits remained cool.
"I am here to help. 'When the chips are down we are there' - it is the mantra of my people. Go now, use the ventilation shafts, you must stop Dumpty, go. Do not let my sacrifice have been in vain."
Without needing further encouragement, I hauled the cover of the airduct to which CHIPS had glanced back in time to see him go prone upon the floor and then I heard Bono's voice
"Aaaaa niiiice one, chips, I was bleeeedin' staaaarrrrrving. Heeeeey, Nuther Bono, you gotta try one of these, they're Leo Burdocks."

The diversion had worked well and Doctor Auburn and I made our way by stealth to sector 16. Dropping down from an open air vent, we found ourselves right next to the substation control room. Within seconds I was at a workstation, frantically rerouting power out of the vicinity. When I gave her the signal, Auburn threw the levers on the MOAPMS valves and sector 16 was safely locked down.

We had to be extremely careful now. Somehow, we had to make our way through sector 17 without being detected by Dumpty. Only by reaching sector 18 could we successfully complete the temporal isolation process. As quietly as I could, I unsealed the access hatch to sector 17 and stepped inside. With all power now diverted away from the area, it should have been pitch dark and yet a sickly green glow pulsed across every surface. Its nauseating throb was coming directly from the viewing portals set into the sides of the accelerator's massive, electromagnetic detectors.
"Whatever you do," I whispered in Auburn's ear "do not look into those windows and do not let Dumpty see you". Auburn nodded slowly, a strange look in her eyes.
On tiptoe, I crept along the gangway, ducking my head below the level of the viewing portals as I passed each one. Halfway along the length of accelerator, I paused to attach the plastic explosives to the steel surface before silently continuing. Though this section of corridor was only about 10 metres long, it seemed to take an age to traverse. As I finally reached the thick steel door at the far end, I turned and to my absolute horror saw Doctor Auburn staring, transfixed, through the thick glass of a portal, straight into the malignant, unblinking visage of Dumpty.
"Doctor Auburn, No!" I screamed but it was too late, as one both she and Dumpty turned their gaze upon me. When Auburn's mouth opened it was no longer her voice that came out but a high piercing, wordless whine that was agonising to hear. Clamping my hands over my ears, I fell to my knees and knew that I must act fast or be finished. Too late I realised that I had left the detonator in sector 16, it was over. The deaths of my colleagues, Auburn's suffering, the selfless sacrifice of a sentient bag of chips were all for nought, Dumpty had won. As I knelt with my eardrums throbbing, I saw the door to sector 16 open and Bono step through followed by The Edge and his creepy cranial companion. Horror upon horror - this was precisely what I had been trying to prevent. Perhaps surprised by this new intrusion, Dumpty cut off its screech and turned to look at Bono.
"Heeeeyyyyyy guuuyyyyyys, look at the funny little pink fellaaaaa. Nooooo waaaayyyyy, he looks a bit like Larry Mullen's mickeyyyyyy!"
As Bono went on and on and on in that way of his I gaped in wonder at what he was holding - the detonator. Was providence on my side?
"Psst, Bono!" I psssted him. "That thing you're holding - don't drop it." I implored him.

Looking at me puzzedly through his tinted, yellow wraparounds he replied
"Heeeeyyy, you're that saaaaasquatch we've beeeeeeen chaaaaasing - heeeeyyyy looook guys, didn't I tell youse he looks just like Ali's muff-thatch."

"The thing you're holding - whatever you do don't drop it." I repeated

"This thiiiing? Whaaaaat issss iiit?" he replied.

"It's a detonator. Don't drop it."

"A Detonatooorrrrrr? Heeeeyyyyy, look at meeeee The Edge, I'm dropping the Det..."


Realising what was about to happen a split second beforehand I had fallen through the blast-proof door and into sector 18 just as the detonator had hit the ground. The massive explosion had slammed the door on my heels and my last glimpse of the room beyond was the incandescent flare of raging death that would've have reduced everyone and everything within its range to smoke and ash, contained as it was within such a small space.

So that was that. Hopefully that's the last we'll hear from all of that shower and we might get back to unravelling the secrets of the physical universe and finding out what it is that women really want and all that shit.