November 19, 2000
I found George in his apartment. All the lights off, blinds down, curtains closed, all the electrical appliances unplugged, all his videos and tapes unspooled, screwed up, cut up, all the CDs and DVDs snapped in half, tv screen smashed in, stereo filled with shaving foam, computer broken open on the road underneath his living room window, floppy disks all burned and melted in a big pile on the kitchen floor, melded with the linoleum like some bastard child from a parallel universe, newspapers and magazines shredded and burned in the fireplace, even the cheapass reproduction prints of the same old Monets and Van Goghs that everybody has hanging up in a vain attempt to seem cultured, even they were smashed, ripped, shredded and burned to a crisp.
There was blood, lots of it. At first I couldn't tell where it was coming from. George was still alive when I got there, I knew straight away because I could see him smoking a cigarette. I ran over to him, scared and repulsed at the same time. He took a deep drag of the cigarette, but when he breathed out, there was no smoke.
"Where has the smoke gone?" I managed to ask him. George smiled weakly, and glanced down to his ruined stomach. I saw the huge hole in his side, the smoke belching out of it, and I remember thinking, fuck, he must have cut really deep, and then I vomited, without any warning, right on to his legs. He waved away my apologies. That was when I noticed the lighter fluid everywhere, the stench filling my nostrils was just now overcoming the stench of blood and death. I looked at George, as he held the lit cigarette over a patch of the flammable liquid, and I only had time to ask him why he was about to set himself on fire. "Because it's cold", he replied, dropping the cigarette.
It was a miracle that I got out in time with only superficial burns. I didn't blame George, he wasn't in his right mind. The state he was in, he probably didn't even see me at all, probably thought I was a troupe of roller skating dwarves or something. Whoever he thought I was, he got the last word, yet again. He always did know how to win arguments.
November 20, 2000
George had covered his tracks pretty well, but there was no way I could accept what had happened without knowing what the hell had driven him to it. Wasn't easy, though. I was probably his closest friend, but I guess I didn't really know him at all, considering everything. I knew he did research at the university, I knew he spoke four languages apart from English (but not which ones), and I knew he loved beer and pasta. He was more of a drinking buddy than anything else, and I don't care what my drinking buddies do outside of the bar. Like parents who force their children to eat when they're not hungry, whenever the bar conversations got boring, I'd insist everybody had more booze poured down their neck. Bars are for drinking, not listening to what someone did at work that day. I wished I'd paid more attention to George, though.
I went down to his office at the university. They were all still in shock at the news, and didn't mind letting me in. He'd trashed his office, too, it was a complete mess. But in his hurry, he'd missed a CD that had fallen behind a filing cabinet. I slipped it in my pocket, and went to talk to the people he worked with. He had been researching communication and pop culture, and spent a lot of time working on Stuart Hall's communication model. Stuart Hall is a communications researcher who came up with some theory that says any kind of art, writing, video, or whatever, has got an embedded meaning, something that whoever wrote or painted or filmed it wants you to get out of it. George had been fixated on this for some time, to the exclusion of all else, apparently. But what the hell would have made him kill himself like that? It's not exactly controversial stuff.
I took the CD home, and checked it out. There were hundreds and hundreds of documents, all text files, half of it gibberish to me, but some of it stuck out. There seemed to be some nearly completed equations and formulae in there, code keys and things, nothing too new or revolutionary, but it was still difficult for me, and I didn't want to get outside help. I had to do this myself. One document, titled '"per se" and the mobile phone syndrome' was all about the memory cards of mobile phones, and the unique identifier that could be used to disable or track the handset. That was as much as I could understand, the rest went into this paranoid rant about Big Brother, and then got really weird. I whiled away half an hour playing Minesweeper, despite not knowing how to play.
Then another document caught my eye, something about the A-Team. I opened it, amused to find it there, and found a detailed analysis of every time the team broke Murdock out of the looney bin, every time they took him back, episode numbers and air dates, and an explanation of why they would not have to do this when they clearly had the power to sign him back in again. The episodes and dates were then listed next to each other, in one long number string, with the numbers 1-26 repeated over and over underneath them. Made no sense to me, looked like those simple alphabet codes you make as a kid - for example, if the password is KEN BARLOW, you'd write the code like this:
K E N B A R L O W C D F G H I J M P Q S T U V X Y Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
So to encode a message, you'd write K instead of A, Q instead of S, and so on. Unless you had the KEN BARLOW code, it'd be really hard to break the code. Fun stuff. But this didn't look fun at all. George had taken this very, very seriously. People don't write detailed break downs exploring the characters in the A-Team and then kill themselves. George wasn't in some cult, he was just a normal guy. I know that there's one born again every minute, but George wasn't like that, he didn't believe in any god or presence or whatever.
I went through more of the documents. One had a complete list of all of Spock's Vulcan insults (or perceived insults) from Star Trek, all his wry little sayings, again, with episode numbers and original airdates. Another documented every time MacGyver used his Swiss army knife. Another detailed each time Odo shapeshifted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A pattern was beginning to emerge, a paranoid, bizarre pattern, but a pattern nonetheless. Although all the codes were different, they had common elements, they were linked. I wasn't bright enough to figure it all out, but I could see that parts of them were similar. It all made a sort of twisted sense, and seemed to tie into that communication theory George was into, the one about hidden meanings deliberately put in by the people who make stuff. The documents were opening my eyes. I ploughed back into them, reading as many as I could, until I had to give up at 4am, when even the shots of black coffee weren't helping anymore. When I'd finished, my head was swimming, and I crashed out immediately. And then in the night I met Satan.
It was just a dream, of course, but the most vivid one I'd ever had. He was furious with me, spitting fire, telling me to stop what I was doing - and this was the worst bit - because I couldn't save George, George was already in hell, suffering, and there was nothing I could do about it. Satan told me that if I carried on snooping, he'd get me. In the dream, I gave him the finger. When I woke up, I'd vomited on the pillow, brown vomit that stank of coffee. Oddly, that just gave me a craving for more coffee. I've always had an iron stomach.
November 21, 2000
I went to the coffee stand on the corner, on the way to the office, and stopped to talk to Horace, the homeless guy who always seemed to be there when I was.
"You know the secret to making a woman fall in love with you?" he asked me. I shook my head, knowing he was going to tell me whatever I said. "You make sure that you don't tell her she's beautiful," he continued. "I'm serious. The second you tell her that, you're weak, you've given into her charms. Women like a challenge. You start going on about the limpid pools of her eyes, or using words like 'mellifluous', she won't be interested any more. I'm telling you. You try it."
"Okay Horace, I'll keep that in mind," I said, smiling. Suddenly he was furious, poking me in the chest.
"Think you're pretty smart, don't you? Old Horace, the crazy homeless guy, listen to him prattling on, poor fool, be a kindness to put him in a home, somewhere he can be looked after, cleaned up. Well you listen to me, mister, as you go to your soulless office, dreaming about escaping a tech support job that you know you'll be stuck in forever - I know more than you'll ever know. I know what you need to know, what you really need to know about everything, and I ain't telling. Ever. And one day, you'll realise that. Or maybe you won't, maybe you'll just wander forever, wondering where the hell it all went wrong. Well don't come crying to me about it. You had your chance."
He slammed down his empty cup, and walked off, muttering curses under his breath. I was speechless. I've always been slightly uneasy talking to homeless people, always been afraid that exactly this sort of thing might happen. A "scene". I stumbled into work, wondering if the day could get any worse.
It could. A big meeting that I'd completely forgotten about, had to creep in, half an hour late, head bowed, whispering apologies to the glares of all the managers. I sat there for another hour or so, listening to the branch deputy manager trying to liven up his lameass presentation slides up by cracking jokes between each one, like Denis Norden wittering on between the comedy clips on It'll Be Alright on the Night, each joke followed by the PowerPoint "whoosh" sound that he had lacked the imagination to change when setting up his stupid little animations.
After the meeting I was free to go back to my desk. I'd brought the CD with me, and had another look at some of the files. I created a spreadsheet for the figures, and started putting them all together, bit by bit.
November 22, 2000
The spreadsheet grew and grew, and I had to make several copies because my PC kept crashing. I kept a copy on my work machine, like I did with all of my stuff - I'm afraid, sometimes, at night, that someone's going to sneak in and steal my machine, leaving my without all my files and stupid jokes. Not that my crappy system would be worth the petrol money it took them to get here and back, but it's one of those fears that I can't do anything about, like meeting the parents of your girlfriend ("hi Mr and Mrs So-and-So! I'm fucking your daughter! She's got great tits, by the way, I guess she gets them from you, Mrs So-and-So" etc).
Although the spreadsheet wasn't finished, I started drawing up preliminary graphs and summary sheets. The links were obvious, even at that early stage. Thing was, the numbers all had the corresponding code, but it was meaningless - there's no point saying that A is really K or 5 is really 7, when you don't have a coded message to decipher. Maybe if I kept going, it would make more sense.
November 26, 2000
More figures added to the seemingly neverending spreadsheet. The decibel level of Vanessa Feltz's voice on breakfast television, from day to day. How many times that Movie Trailer Voiceover Man says "In a world..." in trailers, and how many seconds into the trailer he says them. The different lengths of every single cover version of the song "Love means never having to say you're sorry". Word count of British tabloid newspaper articles that mentioned Robbie Williams. It all seemed so random, infuriatingly so, and all of a sudden I just lost my temper.
"What the fuck is this shit?" I yelled, banging the keyboard. "George, what the fuck were you thinking? Why these things, why just these TV shows and songs, what's so special about them? What's your criteria? Fucking shitcock."
I stared into space for a while, amusing myself by thinking up various new swearword combos - nuncocking fuckbiscuit, shitfucking pisstits. A bad habit, but it usually calmed me down. I glanced at the screen, and saw a document I'd already read, about the so-called "Boy Band Conspiracy". According to George, the boy band conspiracy was that none of the boy bands you saw ever went near a recording studio, they were just there for the videos and album covers. He reckoned that a team of ten people made all the boy (and girl) band songs in the world, they could adjust the "flavour" for different groups, so they'd all sound slightly different, just like the big machine that makes those processed chicken nuggets - it's all pigeon gizzards and chicken lips, but by the time they'd been through the machine, they could make 'em taste like strawberries if they wanted to. Listening to some of that boy and girl band shit, George's theory doesn't sound so paranoid. But George had measured the lengths of the songs, and added the figures in, along with the note pitches, chord progressions, and a load of other stuff I didn't understand.
And that was when it clicked. It wasn't a random selection of things that happened to fit this larger pattern. It was everything.
Everything fit the pattern.
I would have to catalogue everything, or as much as I could. The larger the sample size, the more the bigger picture would emerge.
For five days I worked on adding the stuff from the CD to the spreadsheet, then I finished, and had to start adding my own. By this stage I knew how George converted everything to numbers, so I bought a more powerful computer and software to handle the mammoth spreadsheet, and got to work.
December 8, 2000
Everything I saw, read, watched or did was fair game, ripe for converting into a numerical sequence, and adding to the list. It was all starting to come together. Christmas was coming up, and my family wanted to see me, but my new work was more important. I was a test space monkey, heading out into uncharted territory, and as the adverts will tell you at this time of year, a monkey is for life, not just for Christmas.
The work was getting to me, but it had to be done. I began dreaming numbers, seeing numerical sequences in everything, walking down the street or going to the toilet, it took over my life. There were flickers of understanding at the edge of my mind, hints at what it all meant, but I was too dumb to figure it out. If I'd been half as clever as George, maybe I'd have got there quicker. Maybe that was what drove him insane, he just couldn't get to the bottom of the hidden codes, and had enough. I could understand that. I was almost speaking in numbers by this stage.
A friend of mine, good friend, not just a drinking buddy, had the homosexual equivalent of a pregnancy scare, according to him - he thought he'd caught something nasty, not life threatening, just one of the STDs that people tend to forget about these days. I wanted to be there for him, but I was just too busy with The Work. I couldn't tell him about it, it was too risky. The conversation ended badly, and he hung up on me. Didn't matter. The Work was too important, and I was already heading back to my desk.
December 12, 2000
I saw Horace one more time, before he died. I was on one of my ever more infrequent trips to get food to keep me going, and I saw him lying in a gutter, rancid in his own filth. A brief spark of humanity flared up in me, despite our last meeting, and I stopped to see if he was okay. I saw blood on his chin, and knew he didn't have long.
"Horace?" I asked. "You okay? You need some help?"
He lifted his head up with an effort, and turned his rheumy eyes on me. I think he recognised me, but I couldn't be sure.
"Are you - are you Benny tied to a tree?" he asked me. I looked around, embarrassed to be seen with him, but too ashamed to just ignore him. It was an old childhood game, one I remembered well. I played along.
"No. No, Horace, I'm not Benny tied to a tree."
Horace smiled, pretended to be frightened, and said "Look out! Benny on the loose! Benny on the loose!" before collapsing into a coughing fit. I realised that in one hand he was clutching a travel-sized Monopoly game, tattered and filthy. I wondered what he felt like when he played with the thousands of fake dollars, how often he wished they were real, how many board game horror stories he had where he was left looking like a fool in a shop trying to buy food with fake money. I left some real notes in his lap, hoping he could tell the difference, and I walked away. Next time I saw him, it was in one of those oh-so-sad-but-who-really-cares-I-didn't-know-him stories in the newspaper. Frozen to death. Yeah, those winter nights are a bitch, all right.
December 15, 2000
My back was killing me, from days and days on end of hunching over a computer keyboard. I bought a hammock to sleep in, and for a while everything was rosy, hammock heaven just for me, but then my back got used to that and started playing up again. I put lots of cushions in it, which didn't help, so I rigged up a system of mirrors and cushions that would let me type lying on the ground, flat on my back. That did the trick, and I was able to continue The Work.
December 19, 2000
I was typing up the link between Freddie Starr and Joe Queenan (an almost pathological hatred for Whitney Houston, by the way, in case you're interested), when they impounded my car. Fucking tax had expired, completely slipped my mind, what with my new responsibilities. It was okay, I didn't need a car anyway, they may take our car keys, but they'll never take our freedom, the fascist pigfuckers, all the cars in the world couldn't do that. Yeah, yeah, I know, listen to the crazy conspiracy theorist raging against the machine, backtalking The Man, come and read my fascinatingly detailed teen angst bullshit day log - part 1 to 6 and weep with me at the injustice of a brutal system that makes you pay tax on a car. If only this was the future, I could just leap on my hoverboard and dump manure on them, a regular Marty McFly. But it wasn't, and the evil bloodsucking government took away yet another piece of my life, drooling over the remnants like Kang and Kodos, desperate to pluck away more of my essence.
I don't think I could have picked my car out of the ones on the street, anyway. My memory wasn't what it used to be.
December 25, 2000
Completely forgot it was Christmas Day. My mother and sister came round, wondering what the hell had happened to me. They had to force open the door, thanks to all the mail piled up against it that I was ignoring. They walked in, found me on the floor, typing, naked, surrounded with mouldy pizza boxes and empty coffee cups, curtains drawn, a fetid reek of unhygienic lions in the air. I gulped, and looked at their frightened faces.
"Uh... this isn't what it looks like," I managed to say, but they were already leaving. It kinda *was* what it looked like, really. And it looked fucking weird.
January 1, 2001
Started to detect an American bias in the patterns, in that any tv shows, movies or music that came from the States had more of a defined link. But then, to some extent, there's a US-centricity on everything we do or say, their pop culture has permeated our lives so much. Worked out a formula to allow for that, too, and found the same link cropping up. It added a new dimension to the figures, but just meant that everything would take that much longer to do.
January 4, 2001
Found an article in the Herald-Sun about ANDi, the genetically modified monkey. Identified with him quite strongly. Unlike him, I didn't glow in the dark, but I was definitely put here with a purpose, a task that only I could do. George tried it, couldn't handle it. He wasn't destined for it. I ordered a subscription to the Herald-Sun, just to keep tabs on little ANDi. He was like my twin town, the Avignon to my Colchester. I couldn't explain it. I just knew it was right.
January 10, 2001
ANDi became a svengali figure to me. I spoke to him regularly, asking his advice, telling him about my day and The Work - he never answered, of course, but it felt good to be telling someone about what I was doing, someone who I knew could never give the game away to anyone else. ANDi was helping me, an oasis of calm in the ever increasing cacophony of confusion that was my daily life. The numbers were getting so complex, I could feel my brain shifting around to make sense of them, new pathways being formed, old pathways abandoned, unnecessary, like mental appendices. ANDi and I were going to get through this together.
January 19, 2001
Disaster struck. While checking the Herald-Sun headlines, I saw a little sidebar newsflash type thing, talking about an imminent strike by the editors of the whole newspaper group. The editor strike newsflash would mean that no editions of the paper would be printed until their differences were resolved. No news about little ANDi, my Avignon, until the strike was over. I was devastated. It was like watching the stars go out, when I couldn't get any more details of the little glow in the dark rascal. None of the other papers covered the story, they were all too stuffy and concerned with "real" news, a bunch of die hard proponents of old school journalism. It made me want to scream, but there was nothing I could do. I had to continue The Work without the moral support of my little mascot. Could I cope? Would I be able to manage?
And then a miracle happens. I realise that I can still hear him, little ANDi, whispering soft words of encouragement into my ear. For some reason, he has an Irish accent.
It is at this point that I begin seriously questioning my sanity.
January 24, 2001
Alarm clock wakes me, 6am sharp, ready for the day's Work. Outside, mother nature is sharpening her claws, ready to scratch the shit out of the planet, locked in a sado-masochistic relationship, and the planet loves it, the dirty little bitch. Mother nature can't hurt me, though, I'm the king of the world, the duke of time, the prince of space, guarded by the voice of ANDi, sent here on a mission from the gods themselves. I'm convinced now that it's a holy task, what I'm doing, I have been blessed with the ability to do The Work, where others failed.
I go through the latest batch of printouts, converting, entering data, charting, analysing. The works of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., the amount of liquid latex Dick Smith and Rick Baker used in the movies they did special effects makeup for, the number of cards and dice and playing pieces in the "Which would you rather do?" game (a poorer cousin of "Scruples", but no less important), the size and weight of serial killer Edmund Kemper and the angle at which he buried the skulls that gazed up at his mother's bedroom window ("because she always wanted people to look up to her"), the running time of every film directed by the Alan Smithee pseudonym, the amount of time Sigourney Weaver is on camera in the Aliens Special Edition - all of it, seemingly random, but vital for The Work, vital to unlock the secrets of the universe. It looks like the patterns are not random, someone is putting these hidden meanings in, it's deliberate, everything contains these subliminal traces of the overall picture. I still don't know enough. I have to keep going, faster, bigger, better, more. Time begins to run together for me, to morph and blur into something quite unfamiliar. Through it all, ANDi's voice consoles me, leading me through the valley of tears.
February 13, 2001
Work is slow today. I have the blue flu again. Furry blue lice crawl in and out of my nostrils, chittering and screeching, making my nose stream and my eyes bleed.
It doesn't affect my mental capacities though, in fact I seem to have James Bond expert syndrome, an ability to recite reams of facts about anything you care to mention. My brain is working in new and exciting ways, storing all the information I previously thought irrelevant, but that I now realise is vital for the continued existence of the human race.
The papers are full of talk about the coming election, talking about what they want. I am worried, I fear that the prime minister is treating the newspapers as political parties, trying desperately to appease them to keep them on side and on message. ANDi soothes my fears, and tells me to take the afternoon off, to try and shake off the flu. I accept, gratefully.
March 5, 2001
Blue flu takes longer to go than I was expecting. I'm almost completely recovered, but can no longer see out of my left eye. I don't know why.
The Work is getting more difficult, more time consuming. I was hoping to be finished before the election, so I could vote, but it doesn't look like I'm going to have the time.
June 7, 2001
It's here. The UK general election 2001. I've completely forgotten to register, but I turn up at the polling station anyway. I've made an attempt at cleaning myself up, but still draw stares and gasps from everybody. A firm hand on my arm leads me out before I can even find out if I can vote or not. A policeman. Swine. Hope he doesn't have blue flu, another dose might kill me.
June 8, 2001
Election results are in - Labour landslide. I wouldn't have voted for the fuckers, even if they'd let me vote. I would have voted for ANDi. I tell him this, and I hear the smile in his voice, the love and admiration - yes, dammit, admiration, why the hell not, I'm doing admirable work. I know I am. ANDi tells me so.
August 29, 2001
The heating is broken. A guy called Stanley comes round to fix it, and I'm shocked to discover that he is two dimensional, completely flat, like a piece of paper, a piece of art walking around on two legs. He seems to function okay, so I say nothing to him. Flat Stanley fixes the heating without too much trouble, and leaves, seeming a little flustered. Don't know why, I kept my voice down when talking to ANDi, I don't think he heard.
I'm worried. Maybe Flat Stan is a supervillain, out to disrupt my sacred Work? I feel torn between checking him out, and carrying on with my duties, torn right in two like in Superman III when Christopher Reeve fights with himself. Part of me is here, doing The Work, and part of me is behind enemy lines, fighting the good fight, trying to keep things safe for the boys back home.
October 6, 2001
No sign of Flat Stanley. I think it's safe for now.
November 11, 2001
I take a trip to Edinburgh Castle to double check some dates that I can't find on the internet anyway. It does me good to get away. Part of the castle looks like the church in Young Sherlock Holmes, when the stained glass knight comes out of the window. I can't say if it's the same location for sure, any movie trivia that doesn't have any number relevance to my Work seems to have just leaked out of my mind, pushed away by everything else. Normally I would try to find out, but there is no time, never enough time. I stand in the rooms where hundreds of years ago, royalty lived, ruled, ate, drank, loved. I try to imagine actually living there, having it as your house, how odd that would be. Sitting at a huge banquet, quaffing ale, throwing chicken drumsticks over your shoulder, deciding on the rules for a perfect food fight, then starting one, but they'd have to let you win, because you're the king, baby.
I stand in the room for hours, ignoring the stares of gaudily-dressed tourists. I am not there, I am the king, for one night I'm the lord of the manor, and even though I'm only rich for a night it fills me with the strength and resolve to continue The Work, fully refreshed.
I can't wait to get back home, though. I've really missed ANDi. I love him.
November 12, 2001
Start The Work with a renewed energy for life. ANDi says he's never seen me so excited, and we laugh, dancing around the room like giddy teenagers.
November 15, 2001
Need to pick up some more books, but I need them NOW. I go to the library, even though I'm not a member, and stuff some books under my coat. I spend a few minutes exchanging authors around to cover the gaps so the theft won't be noticed immediately. The librarian smiles at me on my way out, and I smile back, a genuine smile of amusement, because she has no idea what lies beneath my bulky coat - half a shelf's worth of library books. I giggle, and she stops smiling, looking worried. I hurry out.
The books are too heavy, so I'm forced to steal a car to get home. Fucking government took my other car. They'll pay for that.
Pick up a hitcher on the way home, just for some company. I tell him I'm only going to my street, but he doesn't mind. We talk about this and that. He clearly has no idea of The Work I'm doing. I pity him. But it's okay. Soon he will know, the world will know when I unveil the secrets I'm about to unlock. I let the hitcher out at the top of my road, and wave to him as he walks off. Poor deluded fool. But not for long. His eyes will be opened. All our eyes will be opened.
December 21, 2001
I've had a crippling bout of constipation for three weeks. Feels like a coiled up dragon is sitting in my bowels, clenched to the walls of my intestines, occasionally letting out blasts of fire. I can't concentrate on The Work, but I do it anyway, and keep having to go back to correct stuff.
December 22, 2001
Constipation is getting worse. Can't concentrate. Every waking moment I can feel it there. It's worse than the blue flu.
I've got to concentrate. Concentrate on the patterns, the numbers, the links. The score in the tennis match sequence in Strangers on a Train. The new world record for a speedboat jump that was set in the chase sequence in Live and Let Die (110 feet). The amount of film printed for the final negative of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The length of the car chase in the original (and far superior) version of The Italian Job, compared to its counterpart in the remake.
Can't focus. Losing grip.
December 25, 2001
Finally manage to clear the blockage and have a shit. Painful. Raw. Bleeding. But relieved, ecstatic, I feel like cycling to the moon and back, jogging around Ireland with a fridge, pulling the stars out of the sky and eating them. It's the best Christmas present I could have hoped for. My family don't even phone me anymore. I don't blame them.
December 26, 2001
Ironic. Now I have diarrhoea. Typical.
January 13, 2002
I suddenly realise I've left some copies of the documents from the original CD on my computer at work. I got sacked long ago, but I need to make sure there are no loose ends. Today's a Sunday, so there won't be anyone in. I still have my key.
My desk must have been cleared long ago, no idea where my PC is. Have to search the place, make sure there are no traces.
Start on the 15th floor, work my way down. 15th is accounting, no sign of my machine anywhere. 14th is storage of all the paper accounts, by law you have to keep a record of stuff for so many years, so much for the paperless office. Nothing here. Down to the 13th. Finally, there it is, I recognise the stickers I'd covered it with.
Halfway through wiping the hard drive, a security guard comes in. He questions me, suspicious. I haven't got time for this. He looks like he's got the blue flu, I can't risk getting that again, another dose might kill me, The Work is too important. I am forced to kill him. It's the only way. Blue flu or no blue flu, I can't have witnesses. It's messy, blood and insides everywhere, and now I need to cover my tracks. I leave the bloody nightmare on the 13th floor and come back with cans of petrol. Fire will cleanse this house of sin.
Words tumble over themselves in my head as I run away from the burning building. Killed a man, you've killed a man, can't risk getting caught, can't have witnesses, don't want to be caught, don't want to be caught, I want to be caught -
- must get home to ANDi. He'll know what to do.
May 24, 2002
Four months since I first killed a man. There have been six others since then. It's hard, but it has to be done. The Work continues. Adding up all the minutes Reggie is late for work in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. Converting the musical communication in Close Encounters of the Third Kind to numbers, working out the pattern. Gaps. Gaps in my memory. Gaps in my mind.
September 11, 2002
I leave the television switched on 24 hours a day now. News channels, entertainment, music, movies, I see it all. The world is gearing up for some sort of war on Iraq, I have no idea why, the numbers don't match up, I've done the research, my patterns don't show anything. I've tried telling them, can't get through no matter how many times I call. Phone is probably bugged now. Bush says you're either with us or you're against us. He has no idea. I am not of this, I am not of anything now but The Work. If there is a war, I will find the patterns. If there is peace, I will the patterns in that. It is all the same to me. I don't know how to make war, but I know how to make the numbers add up.
September 24, 2002
It's killing me. I can't match up Five Go Mad in Dorset with Worzel Gummidge, the numbers don't match, they aren't linked. Where is the link? Why can't I see it?
Spend an hour downloading "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction - The Assessment of the British Government", the website's being hit by heavy traffic. I'm not interested in the impending war or weapons or any of that shit. I just need it for the numbers. Salvation! It gives me the link between Dorset and Gummidge, and unlocks several other items I was having trouble with. It's all becoming clearer. ANDi and I celebrate with some beers.
Have weird dreams, where dwarves are putting on a stage production of A Clockwork Orange, starring Barbra Streisand and the Mr Men. Satan is back in them too, telling me I've got to do a job for him. I tell him to get lost, that I'm too busy, and anyway, I do holy Work. He smiles, then laughs, a great, gut-bursting laugh, puts his arm around me like we've been best friends for years, and says "you shall sit on my right side in Hell".
September 25, 2002
Wake up, feverish, the dream still fresh in my mind. And that's when I realise who is planting the hidden messages in everything. It's Satan.
I don't know what he's up to, but I know that only I know he's doing it. It's all clear to me now, I have to find the final links and expose his evil plan. Once we've found out what he is doing, we can put a stop to it, to him, to evil, once and for all. If I can do it before I lose my mind completely.
September 29, 2002
More war on the television. Bush, the ultimate war showman, the war magician, is pulling facts and figures out of his ass and pretending they're rabbits. Well I know a rabbit when I see one. And they ain't no rabbits.
ANDi laughs when I say this. He thinks rabbits are stupid. I love ANDi. Tonight we will make love for the first time.
October 1, 2002
ANDi and I have entered a new, beautiful phase in our relationship. Moving into the physical stage has only deepened our love for one another. At night, he reads me a short story from my collection, and we hold each other until sleep takes us. I can't wait until The Work is finished, and we can be together forever.
October 22, 2002
More numbers uncovered, more patterns exposed, more of Satan's treachery laid bare. I am one of two cast members in my own personal movie of heroism, also starring a telephone as "The Telephone", a television as "The Television", and with a special appearance by ANDi as himself.
The Work is hurting me, there's no doubt about that, but it's for the best. ANDi will help me. ANDi is God. And God loves me.
November 15, 2002
Wake up, groggy, to find a frog in the room, drinking from a puddle of spilt beer. I cough, and the frog looks up, then staggers away, drunk. For a moment I am gripped with fear, wondering what happens if and when frogs go bad, are they like rats, if you corner them do they go for the throat? I grab the frog, jam it into the old typewriter I use as a paperweight, and mash down the carriage return key over and over, until frogslime oozes out. Extreme, but necessary. ANDi tells me I've done the right thing. I trust him. I love him.
I wash the gunk off my fingers. Kenny Everett is on the television, the sound off, but I know the sketch off by heart anyway. I say the words out loud, filling the silence, my almost lifeless voice making a mockery of the comedy show. But I never claimed to be a comedian. Just a warrior for Jesus. Jesus my genetically modified monkey lover.
December 13, 2002
Whole day wasted today. Apartment is filled with frogs. I spend the day stabbing them with pencils, and screaming for the Lord to save me. Satan sends me these things to try and shake me off, stop me doing The Work. But nothing can stop me.
December 20, 2002
Christmas is coming. I must fast. Can't get distracted from The Work.
December 25, 2002
Break my fast. I'm having panic attacks and palpitations. Need food. I'm heavily into The Work at the moment, cataloguing and converting everything I can. I have to unlock the pattern. I have to prove to ANDi that I'm worthy.
March 20, 2003
More gaps in my mind. Like Swiss cheese. Or those biscuits... what are they called? Biscuits.
The war on Iraq has started. War on Iraq 2003, all new and improved, better than the 1991 version, in colour, in bomb-o-vision. Some people think it's a good thing, some bad. I'll wait and see what the numbers are like. It's all about the numbers.
March 24, 2003
I've got another dose of the blue flu. It's worse than ever this time, the blue lice are inside my brain this time, coming out of my eyes. My left eye is already ruined from the last time, if I lose the other, then The Work is over, and all is lost.
March 27, 2003
Lice. Lice eating me up inside. Go to doctor, demand help. Doctor says there's nothing wrong, I'm perfectly normal. Look at me, I scream, do I look FUCKING NORMAL?
Had to kill him
April 10, 2003
Coping. Just coping. The Work too important. Blue flu slow me down. Getting mind spasms every hour, on the hour. Take all day to go through Julian Clary's double entendres in a video of his live show. All day. Too slow. Need help.
ANDi doing what he can. Not enough.
July 4, 2003
Break into pharmacy. Steal pills. Helps a bit. ANDi been a rock, my rock, the rock on which I will build my church.
August 12, 2003
Nagging feeling inside. Not blue flu. Something else. Something I've missed. Something bad.
Shite. Heavier mind spasms. Memory completely gone now. Forgetting everything. Lucky all backed up, CDs, printouts, no problems.
October 23, 2003
Bad. Bad shit. There's bad shit going down. Don't know what. I can hear Satan laughing at me. Hate him. ANDi loves me. We will beat the devil, together.
January 3, 2004
Blue flu getting worse. Eyesight going. Spasm. Need to complete The Work. Nearly there. Must finish before valentine's day, that's when me and ANDi get married. We've invited all our friends. our special friends.
The Work nearly finished. so close. so close I can feel it.
February 9, 2004
oh god oh god oh god
all gone wrong
all the messages, all linked, all put by satan - no secret plan - he just put them in there, like poisoning babyfood, poisoning our minds with evil - some people can resist, most cant, its how he gets to us, how he keeps us full of hate and fear and anger, using our own consumerism against us, we are buying our own destruction, if we cant afford it we steal it, must have it, dont know why we need it, crack, never enough, always want more
i been filling my hea d with all his poison, not meant to be all for one, supposed to be diluted, all the darkness comes from his numbers, the numbers he put there to destroy us
there no plan, no message we can stop, no, cant do anything about it - doomed - all doomed
mind cant take it all
not long now
must keep going till wedding
February 14, 2004
andi mi wife
never looked more betiful
tonigt we mak lov agn
then we di tgethr
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