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.