Tag Archive: megan furniss


Who am i reading? [2015]

lion

i love to read.

i was challenged a couple of years ago by the idea of diversifying the voices that i invited to speak into my life. For me that related mostly to books as i don’t tend to find the time slash bandwidth to do much podcast listening, but it would apply to both.

Continue reading

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This is the last post in a series of four Tandem Blog posts where Dave Luis and Megan Furniss and myself have each picked a title and the three of us have written whatever it has inspired in us. So far we have done That Nagging Feeling… followed by 37 Million Miles… and lastly Boundaries. The fourth and final title was opened up to the Facebook and the most popular suggestion was by Valerie Anderson aka tbV [the beautiful Val] and it prompted the following piece. Be sure to read Dave and Megan’s pieces once you have finished with mine and if you like them, please leave a comment and tell us why…

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twit

The Age of Outcry

It was the best of crimes. It was the worst of crimes.

He stared at the newspaper headline, unable to believe his eyes. Although ‘newspaper headline’ felt like a bit of a misnomer as this barely 60 word information snippet had been buried all the way back on page 9, opposite the local entertainment page, where non stories came to die. Or began their mere breath-of-a-life relatively stillborn.

Yet there it was. ‘Another cheetah killed by hunter’. Another cheetah? Poor bugger didn’t even get a name.

One of the lost girls coughed anxiously behind him. Poor children. Ever the eternal optimists. But it was his turn now and he wasn’t going to hand over the newspaper so quickly. They could drink in their disappointment later. He hadn’t even attempted the chess problem yet.

But the front page? The opening page of yesterday’s newspaper was announcing Woman’s Day – the one day in the year when men were supposed to treat woman as people, or something. Get their own damn coffee for a change or something equally as life-transformative.

He glanced across at his Twitter feed. #AllAnimalsMatter. He liked that one. It was good to see the #BlackLivesMatter movement using his moment to refocus the world on them. He had even chuckled out loud at the meme. COL. That should be a thing. He made a mental note to start using it.

Clicking yet another tab to see how Facebook was faring, he quickly noticed that all the rainbow-faces which had given way to pics of him [or one of his ‘kind’] were now largely filled with an assorted arrangement of pictures of statues with women’s lingerie hanging off them.

Cecil sighed a deep sigh. “Must be cancer awareness time again.”

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boundaries

Boundaries

Emma was dead.

I mean, she got that, she really did. Although to be fair, it had taken her quite a while.

But, in her defense, this was completely different to anything she had experienced before, and so recognising it was perhaps not such an obvious connection. What was so distinct about her present state, ‘Was this a state? A condition perhaps? Or do you have to be alive to be in any form of condition? Let’s stick with state for now,’ was its complete and utter differentness to anything else she had previously known.

‘Known?’ Know. To be aware of. Hm, even that seems wrong. It’s like i am in this place of complete awareness with regards to things known and experienced, but i still don’t really have a lot of idea of what is really going on. And what comes next?’

There had been no Terry Pratchettian CAPS LOCK voice speaking directly to her brain to let her know that Death in his, ‘His? ‘Its’ maybe? Does Death even have a gender? All that assuming Death actually has a form and persona of course. I think I may have read too many fairy tales on this topic,’ skeletalness was present and ready to take her away.

‘Skeletalness is NOT a real word. I seem to be really struggling with words to describe my current scenario. That’s the whole trick when you’re introduced to something so well and truly differently different I guess. Urgh, my mom would have cringed at ‘differently different’. Okay, focus, Emma, and let’s try and figure out what comes next. I mean, there is a next, right? This can’t be… it?’

Emma had actually lost count of the number of hours that she had spent trying to “figure out what comes next” before the moment of realisation had struck her that she was in fact dead. You would think it would have been more obvious, but there had been a certain confusion about her, a kind of mist, when she had woken up, ‘No, it can’t be woken up. That would imply sleeping. But I wasn’t sleeping, I was dead. Um, but it had felt like waking up, so maybe we’ll go with that for now,’ and tried to go somewhere else.

The cloud had so descended upon her that even though grasping at a door handle with fingers that were no longer there should have itself been a deafening clue, it had simply delivered to her the information that this particular exit was not a viable one and would she try somewhere else. The second door that led out to the, well previously had led out to the pantry, was also no help. She had moved to windows to no avail, and then, in desperation, and with a sufficient amount of panic, even attempted to pull a chair below the trapdoor in the roof. ‘But pulling anything becomes an impossible endeavour when you have nothing to pull with. Oh look, there I am.’

‘Hours? Had it been hours? It had seemed so, but what was time now? It might have been minutes, or even seconds? Every moment seemed to fade into the next one, in silence of course.’ The one thing Emma had picked up quite quickly on, once she realised, was the deafening silence that, ‘No! No! No! You cannot have a deafening silence. That does not make sense and it has never made sense no matter what ridiculous name the teachers had given to it. Silence is quiet. It cannot deafen you. Overwhelming, perhaps? That is what this silence has felt like. Almost like it was the presence of nothingness as if that could be a thing either. Where was I?’

Even when she was looking down at her lifeless body, transfixed, mesmerized, paralysed, hypnotised, spellbound, enraptured, bewitched, captivated, fascinated, engrossed, stunned, immobili… ‘Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Remain calm. You’re losing it. You’re losing it. Keep it together. What is going on here? Surely something has to happen next. Surely someone, some… thing… has to appear and help me or lead me away or something? Tell me what to do.’

Those last five words she had meant to scream, but there was no screaming here. There was no sound at all. She could barely register her thoughts as words and even they were starting to make less send to her. She felt trapped here. Once she had discovered her body and however long it had taken for her to join those dogs together, to realise that she was in fact deaf, she had quickly become hysterical. Walking through walks had not proved fruitful. It definitely screamed as if something was keeping her in this roam.

What was she meant to don’t? She had no ideal. Her hedge seemed to be spitting now. Lied and worms humming at her foam awe differential erections. No right minded bacteria carpool battery battery emphasis derivative.

Hated.

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If ever a post was going to get me into trouble, this is probably it.

i’m not talking directly about things that i hate or completely judge [although, perhaps some of them] but by and large and firstly things i simply do not understand. Things my brain can’t get around. Things that don’t make sense to me. And maybe they make sense to you and that’s okay – maybe some of them shouldn’t and possibly some of them should make more sense to me – that’s what the comments section is for – healthy friendly engagement and why i am completely ridiculously wrong and how could i say that? But before we rush to that, let’s take a look at 10 Things I Don’t Understand, realising there may be more.

huh

So amongst the many things i do not understand, exist these 10:

# i don’t understand pineapple on pizza. i thought i’d ease you into this list and this is not a moral dilemma in any way, shape or form but simply a preference. Raw, juicy pineapple? Amazing. Cooked pineapple? Not too far behind raiSINs on the ‘Food i really hate’ list [although to be fair i could probably stomach a cooked piece of pineapple if i was trying to be polite, whereas with raiSINs… bleargh!]. i think this may have come from or been enhanced by my gran forcing us to eat stewed fruit as a punishment dessert when we were growing up. It wasn’t. That was truly awful [stewed peaches and plums and whatever else] and we often hid it in the skins of the gem squash [excellent combo meal!] Moving on…

# i don’t understand litter. All litter, really, but especially smoker’s throwing cigarette butts out of the car wiindow. i don’t know what goes through the mind of a smoker when they do this, but over the years i have developed a hypothesis that i fully believe in my mind to be true, and it’s that they don’t categorise cigarette butts as litter. i honestly believe there are smokers out there who feel pretty strongly about litter and would never drop a paper anywhere and would shout at someone else who dropped something in public. But then, into the car, smoke a cigarette and suddenly i’m done and cigarette out of the window. Totally different thing. That’s what i think is in the minds of some smokers anyways.

And it’s not all smokers [although, to be honest, i don’t understand smokers either – have you not seen those videos?] but it is something i see a lot while i am driving and after being-on-cellphone-while-driving is the thing most likely to inspire me towards road rage. Yes that is me behind you holding down my hooter [horn for the Americanese] and flashing my lights. i was SO PROUD of my friend Megan the time i heard she got out of her car and picked up the cigarette butt and handed it back to the person although i do understand they are not the best of Facebook friends or anything…

So cigarette butts is the chief offender, but really all litter. i really don’t understand it. Especially when i see you drop a paper within a meter of a rubbish bin. [Veins in my head want to pop!] i so much appreciate the people who [often at ridiculously early or late times] work at cleaning our roads and making our cities and suburbs look beautiful. It changes the psyche of the people living there, when the place is relatively clean and tidy. i experienced this in our time in Philly. People who got up every day in a neighbourhood a lot of people didn’t care for, and spent time in the street with their broom and dustpan, cleaning the sidewalk, building dignity and pride in the place they were in.

STOP THROWING YOUR LITTER ON THE FLOOR. Seriously, put it in your pocket if you must until the next time you are near a bin which will be soon. This is one of the ones i am probably a little more judgy about.

# i don’t understand people who don’t know how to use four way stops [and tbV would add Traffic Circles with a cry of “Come on, people!” or something]. Maybe more weirdly, i don’t understand why i do know how to use a four way stop/traffic circle cos some of that ‘secret driving knowledge’ stuff that doesn’t go into the tests [i feel like four way stops are in the tests though, right? And circles?] gets passed on by the parents/teachers who do know it and doesn’t get passed on by those who don’t. Although i think today everyone has to get a certain amount of official driving lessons which we didn’t have to, so maybe over time that will help solve it. But i doubt it because people do not seem to know how to do four way stops and traffic circles. And it makes us have to shout at you in our car where you can’t hear us at all, so please stoppit!

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#  i don’t understand how Adam Sandler continues to make movies that people watch. This probably falls into the personal preference section as well so half of you may agree and half may not and i can’t imagine anyone getting angry at this one, except maybe Adam Sandler. But i used to really love his stuff like ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ‘Happy Gilmour’ but then somewhere along the line he just got bad, and seemed to get badder and his last few movies [Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, Blended] i could barely watch the trailers they were so painful. i feel like the same happened with Will Ferrell where i got to the point where i have to actively remind myself when a new movie comes out with him, ‘Don’t watch it!’ because with him at least the trailers tend to be good but the movies are awful. i think it has happened with a lot of Hollywood Funny Guys [which is why maybe it’s been such a great time for the women to have better opportunities like Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig who i think is incredible and others – can’t wait for Female Ghostbusters]. Maybe the writing has just gotten a lot worse or maybe there is a serious case of having lost the funny. Anyone you used to think was funny but has not made a good movie for a while?

# i don’t understand the culture of the joke insult. i really don’t dig it [judgy one, beware] at weddings when people make ‘jokes’ slash digs at marriage as an attempt to be funny. And because it happens so often at weddings it has seemingly become a cultural thing and so everyone does it because everyone else has done it and we laugh because everyone else laughs. On a day when we are celebrating two people we love and the public commitment they are making to each other, into a union like marriage which has so much attacking it [in the media and beyond] that it really needs all the help it can get. But beyond that, i was at a function the other night where at least three people doing speeches took a dig at the person they were celebrating or thanking. And yes, i get it, you think it’s a joke and it’s funny and it’s the culturally done thing so again everyone is laughing [not me, i’m not laughing, you just made me sad, stoppit!]. But if we are truly celebrating this person or thankful for them, how about we keep to positive words and vibes. That whole idea that every joke contains a truth is very real and often there is a bit of a barb or a dig hidden [sometimes quite deeply and sometimes you have to be in on the bigger picture] in the joke and for me it just takes something away from the moment.

# Which segways quite nicely into this one: i do not understand the make-your-best-friend-look-and-feel-like-a-tit bachelor party vibe. i know this will feel to some like a style or preference one and to some extent you may be right, but this is one i feel quite strongly about, especially in some areas and as i have only experienced this as a guy, i’m not sure whether it applies to women in their versions of this party [so maybe someone could comment and let me know]. i have heard absolute horror stories [usually involving paintball] of bachelor parties the night before the wedding where the groom was so bruised and in pain that it can only have detracted from the wedding and honeymoon. i heard a story of a guy who was drunk and put on a train and missed his wedding and while that sounds like an urban myth or an upcoming Adam Sandler/Will Ferrell collaboration [note to self: Don’t watch that movie!] i have heard other true stories that are as vile. A guy who was convinced his arm was broken and had it in a cast for the wedding and his whole honeymoon before realising it was ‘just a joke’. Although not to future grooms – maybe not getting drunk and hanging around with people you can’t trust is a helpful tip.

But even scaling it way back [to maybe where it gets down to preference?] to dressing up the guy embarrassingly [usually in women’s clothing, if much clothing at all] and making him embarrass himself in front of complete strangers [this is where it crosses the line for me when it moves to asking for girls’s phone numbers or kissing strangers or more] and fortunately because of my crowd of friends i have never been at a party where they thought a stripper was great preparation for marriage.

For my bachelor’s a bunch of my mates and i went away for the weekend and played board games and drove quad bikes and watched some big rugby match and shared stories and spoke life into me. It was phenomenal. For a recent wedding i was a groomsman for [in the traditional kilt-wearing way], we played mashie golf and lawn bowls and had a meal together and sang bad kareoke and took some moments to share positive stories and speak life into him and it was phenomenal.

The idea of your best mates spending time with you in a way that lifts you up and makes you feel good and celebrates you and your future wife? That i get. Anything less than that feels, well, less than that. But i imagine you have some thoughts..?

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# i don’t understand the difference between ‘Adopted Children’ and ‘Real Children’. Wow, this one has to get me intro trouble. But this is not one i feel judgy about [scroll down to sports stars salaries for that], i just generally don’t get it. With such a need [in South Africa at least, but i think many other places] for children without parents to be adopted, it would seem to me that everyone wanting a child could choose for five to ten years to stop having babies and move towards giving one a home. While i’m not overtly saying that having your own biological child is selfish, i do strongly think that the word ‘selfless’ jumps to mind when it comes to adopting. i love how adopting children seems to be a lot more prevalent these days or maybe it’s just that i know a lot more people who are doing it.

There just seems to be such a strong difference between ‘I want to parent a child’ and ‘I want to parent my child’ although any of my adoptive parent friends i imagine will tell you that they are parenting their child [even the ones that don’t resemble their parents even in skin colour]. i loved how Jesus at one point redefines family. He is told His family are waiting for Him outside and He looks around and motions to His friends and He says, “These are my family – the people around me who do the will of God.” And i believe that every time someone adopts a child they are redefining family, because there new family is nothing less than any other family. And it’s a powerful exciting thing.

Maybe i can’t fully understand because i don’t particularly want children [that should be the next point] but i think i understand enough. it seems to be a traumatic thing when a couple who are wanting a baby are not physically able to have one, but at the same time, how exciting it must be for a child without a family to discover that their is a family wanting them to be a part of it?

# i don’t understand why it is so important to you that i must want to have children. This is a really interesting one, because i really just don’t get it. tbV and i are both not particularly interested in having children. And when we tell people this, the general response is to try and convince us why we should be wanting to have children. Or arrogantly [yes, you!] suggesting to us, with a wink or knowing look in the eye, that it will change. Some people [many it seems] want to have children and some people don’t. There are probably a hundred reasons i could state, some of which would help you understand, some which might just make you angry and some which are probably pure selfishness or survival. Us not wanting to have children is a perfectly normal thing. You being a dick about it, is not. So stop it. Do i try to convince you to melt Top Deck in the microwave or on your car dashboard and eat it with a teaspoon? You really should, by the way. It’s amazing.

# i don’t understand how South Africa has a homeless problem at the same time as it has 1047 Golf courses [according to Golflink.com] – is it just possible that this rich white people sport [i am assuming the stats will back me up on this one] which i myself have enjoyed playing [in Mashie form] is a luxury that needs to go [in the face of water shortages and no room for people to live]

George Carlin does a pretty great [although expletive-filled] piece on the solution to homelessness which you can watch over here.

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# Here we go: i do not understand the exhorbitant fees some sports players get paid. Again, read the heading people, these are not the Top Ten Things I Judge In Life. But any time i mention this one people seem to go a little crazy face. Especially my Christian friends, for some reason [almost as if they didn’t read Jesus’ words on the matter… you know, ‘Sell everything and give it to the poor’ and before you point out to me [like an arrogant me would have done a year or two ago] that this is Jesus talking to one person [the rich young ruler] and not providing general teaching for everyone, i was suitably bummed when someone pointed out to me that actually He says it another time, in Luke 12:

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Whoops, it’s plural there and He is talking to the disciples. Hm. What would Ronaldo Do? Actually that doesn’t matter. It’s What Will Brett Do that i need to be concerned about]

Others like to point out it is actors and politicians and business execs and why do i always pick on the sport people as if finding someone else doing it wrong means that the first person is not doing it wrong. i probably also believe that all those people [and more] and being paid way more than is morally defendable in a world where the majority of people are trying to survive on under two dollars a day i think it is.

i don’t think i need to defend my thinking on this – as others have often given me the impression i have to do – what i am declaring here is i don’t understand this, i don’t get it, i don’t think i ever will. Here, you have a million dollars for kicking a ball and buy yourself a luxury mansion and a sports car while a million people die in Africa that the wells that money could have provided water for remain unbuilt. i. do. not. understand. how. that. feels. okay. to. you. Oh well, capitalism.

That’s probably enough for now. What about you? If you had to compile a list like this, what would be the top, or maybe the top three things you would have there? Any of these resonate with you? Any totally make you angry or judgy [of me] or sad? Have your say in the comments…

[For 10 Other Things i just Don’t Understand, click here]

So one of my new favourite virtual [for now] friends, Dante, whose incredible Micropoetry can be found over at Original Dante, challenged me to a duel [well kinda, cos he already pulled his trigger in his own fight] which i had already kinda done in someone’s comment section, but there is no verifiable proof, so i decided to take him up on it…

OD is the reason i got interested in, and brave enough to try, Micropoetry and even though i still suspect my Micropoems are not short enough, they are WAAAY shorter than my regular poems [and getting there] so hopefully there is hope [ha ha, yes that!]. so how could i resist? And he already has a way too ridiculously nice nickname for me which also helps me to believe…

Step Away From The ‘E’

And the Rules to this No-Letter-That-Precedes-F-Or-Follow-D challenge are these:

The rules:

  1. Write a whole paragraph.
  2. Without any word containing the letter “e”.
  3. By reading this you are already signed up.
  4. Challenge at least five bloggers to do the challenge.

You should totally jump across the virtualness of space and go and check out OD’s submission, which was flawless.

But in the m antim , h r  is min :

Staring at cracks on a part of my wall I had not paid much mind to until this occasion, I thought about how much intoxication it might bring to a tiny ant, struggling to carry a biscuit crumb across its cliff-like contours. What quantity of obstruction would it vanquish or would this straightforward [from my outlook] provocation snap its will in two? In an instant though, I was shown that my lack of faith in my microscopic companion was without foundation, as it [I could not confirm if this was a boy or girl at this point] took aim and simply slid down a portion of flaking paint that I had hardly known was an option. As I was busy watching all this, my mug of Chai had grown significantly cold.

i would love to see the following people give it a try, just because i know they will totally own the challenge:

Megan Furniss

Dave Luis

Catherine Jenkin

Nick Frost

Valerie Anderson aka tbV

And she is probably way too busy for this nonsense but i would love to read the piece Jamie The Very Worst Missionary comes up with, and since she missed my book launch recently, i’m sure that this would be about fair, right?

Apologies If you’ve already been nominated before, otherwise If you haven’t, I hope you accept. Looking forward to reading your posts!

roid

37 Million Light Years

It arrived on the screen as a message of hope: “37 Million Light Years”

The number seemed so ridiculously large that Corporal-Sergeant Janet Witherspoon wondered how it had ever been cause for concern in the first place. How does an exploratory spacecraft fitted out with all the latest technology still somehow manage to mess up so badly? ‘Human error’, she thought to herself. Living in a futuristic society beyond anything most people could have begun to imagine even 60 years ago, the harsh reality was that human frailty still got to play a part.

Still, everyone else in the Terminus was in full-on celebration party mode. She should probably go and join them.

7 days ago, there had been the world-shattering announcement that there was a body from space hurtling towards the planet at break-neck speeds. Everyone had sprung into action from scientists  to NASA hierarchicals to the military, but no-one seemed to have any kind of theory or plan of action that provided much help. The most immediate move that could be made would be to send an unmanned probe directly into the path of the object to try and collect some more dependable data to give them some kind of idea just how much time they had.

Janet’s eyes paused on the screen once more as the flashing numbers seemed to be trying to get her attention. That nagging feeling that she had had the week before was back. 37 million? Why did the number seem so familiar to her?

The probe had launched successfully. Four days later it had been able to pinpoint within 0.3 of a parsec the expected trajectory of said body and since then had been making super sophisticated calculations which specialists at the station had been reviewing and trying to draw accurate conclusions from. Space debris, wind vectors, planetary gravitational pulls and of course the frequent showers of meteors in its path all meant that it was nearly impossible to know exactly when and where it would hit, if anywhere at all and so minute by minute, and hour by hour, the calculations continued to furiously be made by man and machine alike as they had to adjust and realign and recalculate once more.

If anything, the silver lining on this cloud had been the Dispersement. Even twenty-five years ago, an event like this would have meant the end of the human race. But with the advent of inhabitable space stations and locating three other planets able to sustain life meant that humankind was now more spread out than any single tragedy would ever be able to touch. A week ago the likelihood had been strong that one of the planets was within range and so the big question the calculations was predominantly trying to answer was ‘Who is in the line of fire?’

Janet shut her eyes involuntarily as a wave of nausea hit her and it was all she could do to keep her lunch down. Kepler-186f! What were the stats on that again? She flung her arms into the air directing holographic computer screens to do her bidding as she searched for the number she was seeking. Kepler 186f was the first planet they had discovered in the habitable zone of another star that had a similar radius to earth, and the second new planet the Dispersement had targetted.  Discovered by NASA’s Keplar spacecraft using the transit method [along with four additional planets ruled out because they orbited much too closely to the star] it had provided much of the initial research and prompting to move out at all. Where was the information she was looking for?

And suddenly there it was, in front of her, blinking on the screen. The party music in the background drowned out Janet’s agonised shriek as the familiar digits lined up in a way she was hoping she’d been mistaken about as she slumped back into her seat:

Planet: Kepler-186f

Governer: Sardun Ahlop [a popular leader from the Krouton quadrant, now in his third year]

Population: 37, 036, 219

37 million! The number was too close to be a lucky coincidence. How did it work again? The probe directed the information to the researchers and scientists who worked the data and then sent the results to Command Centre via voice recognition software and it got displayed across the main screen for all to see.

This was not human error after all. The message they had received which gave them the impression that all was well was not the message of hope they had received at all, but rather a pronouncement of a present tragedy that had already taken place. Bloody voice recognition software!

Numb and frozen in her seat, as the tears streamed down her face, Janet whispered the intended message to herself:

37 million lie! Tears…

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Be sure to check out the other amazing posts with this same title with:

And we’re back – just three bloggerists this time, but two amazing story-tellers joining me for another season of Tandem Blog posting. Join myself, Megan and Dave as we take the same title and give it our own personal and unique flavour…

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THAT NAGGING FEELING

‘Gently does it. Keep your speed average. Not too fast. Not too slow. We don’t want anyone suspecting anything out of the ordinary.’ Nick was talking to himself in his inside head voice again.

But everything was out of the ordinary. Nick Jenkins had been planning this moment for two years and as he tried to remain calm as he drove down the main road and made a right on to the highway, his mind was in absolute panic mode.

‘You did it. Everything happened absolutely according to plan. You have gone over this a thousand times and today, this day, everything has gone according to plan. Stop worrying. You are only going to cause yourself to make a mistake.’

Nick glanced at the clock on the dashboard. He had synced it with the satellite time and checked it three times today already. 23 minutes. Twenty three minutes until the bomb goes off. More precisely his bomb. The one that he had made. From plans he found on the internet. ON THE INTERNET! That fact still drove him a little mental. That he was able to find a way to craft a bomb in one tab while playing a ‘Words with Friends’ move against his mom on another. He still felt a little embarrassed at making the word ‘COCK’ in a Scrabble game against his mom. But she would know he meant the bird and it had allowed him to put his ‘K’ on a triple letter!

‘Are you sure you kept to the plan? You’re very nervous now and nervous people make mistakes.’ Nick systematically went through the plan in his head as he indicated right and then made to turn off the highway, now just a few streets away from his home, where he would be far enough away to be as shocked and surprised as the general public when the announcement flashed across their tv screens.

It was the perfect bomb. No mistakes there. He had checked and rechecked and made sure that he had kept to the plan. The miniature version he had put together and tested in the local quarry had gone off perfectly and so there was absolutely no reason to assume this more powerful model would be any different.

‘I will show THEM. They will be sorry that they treated me so absolutely disgustingly. As if losing my job was not bad enough, for them to embarrass me so disdainfully in front of the whole office…’ Nick realised this was really extreme, but he reconciled it with the fact that nobody was going to get hurt. He was going to hurt the company. And it was going to cost them a lot of money. More money than if they’d just kept him on and allowed him to try a little harder. He had made absolutely meticulously sure that everyone would be out of the building. Cleaners and everything. The building would be as empty as his impending bank account.

Right turn. Two streets to go until the safety of home. Nick replayed his movements as if watching them on a camera. ‘Gloves on. Security cameras disabled the night before. Each piece of the bomb bought at a different location over a 6 month period so there was no way even two of them could be placed together. Bomb checked and countdown started before leaving his house, giving him plenty of time to make it there, place the bomb and return home just before it goes off.

‘Why is it something doesn’t seem right? Surely i’m just psyching myself out here? I know this. I’ve gone over it and over it until it is so deeply engrained in my mind that there is no way i could…’

Nick turned into his driveway, mind suddenly racing. ‘Wake up. Get dressed. Check bomb. Set bomb.’

With a foreboding feeling now surging through his entire body, Nick is starting to visibly sweat as he grabs the car keys and walks nervously to his car boot.

‘Put bomb in car. Cover bomb. Drive at average speed on practiced back roads route to office so that car would not be seen. Arrive at office.’

As he shakingly tried to turn the key in the boot, the realisation hit him like a waft of hot air completely knocking the breath out of his body. In his hurry to ensure that he was in and out of the office with no one noticing, with no-one in a neighbouring office perhaps remembering that his rust blue mazda had been the last car seen parking on the edge of the car park, he may have forgotten one tiny detail.

 Nick Jenkins finally managed to get the unwieldy key to turn and flipped open his car boot to catch sight of a digital display, attached to a bomb, still sitting in the back of his car, displaying the numbers, ‘7…6…5…’

bomb

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