Saturday, June 07, 2008

Planet Telex


Today was a bad day. It began with all four of my bedposts simultaneously deciding to explode into pieces and drop me a distance that felt, in my rapidly-moving ascent from deep sleep to cardiac arrest, like fifty, maybe a hundred miles on to my bedroom floor. The impact of mattress with solid wood caused my body to softly bounce off my bed at an awkward angle, slowly twisting me in mid-air, so that I became fully conscious just as I realised I was heading face first into my bedroom floor.

The crack of my skull against hard wood panelling would probably have sent me straight back to sleep again had it not been for the fact that the blow was softened by 8cm of water that hadn’t been there before.

I was confused. I was wet. I was blind. I looked for my glasses and found them dead under me. The force of my impact had crushed everything right of the nosepiece. My brain found some hope to latch on to and reminded me that I’d always wanted a monocle, so I removed the left lens and squinted through it to get a one-eyed view of the room.

The entire expanse of my bedroom floor was covered by an 8cm deep sea, populated by drifting cigarette packets, island masses of stray clothes and a struggling mobile phone that screamed before finally dying with a sickening silence. The sea stretched on and out around the rest of the flat too, all the way back to its source; the washing machine. Water was spilling out of the drum and on to the floor in a trickling waterfall.

It was ka-fucked, that much was certain, but before I could think of calling a plumber I needed substance in the form of black coffee and bacon. Unfortunately my attempts to fill the kettle up from the tap ended when the tap spun off in my fingers and I got a face full of hot water. The area surrounding my right eye was scalded quite severely but my left eye was protected by the monocle goggle so I could still blearily make out what was going on.

A fluttering orange reflection in the far right of my perception reminded me of the frying pan and oil I’d left on the gas stove to gently warm. I whipped round to find the handle of the frying pan had broken and the pan was tipped on its side with the oil burning away.

If only I’d been awake enough. If only I’d been able to get my morning dose of caffeine. If only I wasn’t partially blinded, scalded and panicking. I would have recalled my mother’s tales of never pouring water on a cooking oil fire. Sadly there was water in abundance and the fire was utterly terrifying.

The resulting volcano took much of the surrounding cabinets and skin up with it in a ball of fire and as flames licked ceiling I decided that it was probably a good time to retire to the hallway and call for some emergency assistance into the matter.

Alas! to no avail. The phone emitted a brutal hissing noise into my ear that I hoped was Morse code for ‘Keep calm, help is on the way’ but nothing else.

And so I decided to abandon my rapidly sinking flat and seek help elsewhere.


Despite yanking, slamming and swearing my front door stood stone solid against every attempt to open it. I sloshed my way back to my bedroom, grabbed the front door keys and slammed them into the lock, twisting them every which way, frantically trying to make the lock click. The sharp sound of metal that for an instant was so elating was just the noise of the key snapping in the lock. I slammed my head against the door in exhausted desperation and the lock itself came sliding out. Then the hinges buckled and the whole door came crashing in on top of me followed by a thunderous noise of clashing stone and metal.

After I crawled out from under the door and the dust had settled I peered over the edge of what had been the stairwell landing. It was a broken a mess of rubble and stairs. Three-fifths of a bike lay smashed and twisted. In the middle of the detritus was a body. Its arms and legs were spread out like someone making a snow-angel and the whole body was rhythmically pulsing and twitching. The whole body lay down and danced in front of me apart from the head, which was a smothered mess of blood, mortar and clay.

I stumbled back into the flat, wondering if vomit was good for putting out a fire. I could feel and hear everything cracking and breaking around me. As I staggered into the front room and ran for the window out on to the street, I slipped in the water and my monocle came flying out. I heard it smash against something.

I got to the window and looked out. The long line of buildings opposite was riddled with cracks and was slowly sinking away. Cars were smashed or on fire. There were blurred images of people opposite and I touched the window with the tips of my fingers. The shapes opposite did the same and then every window on the street instantly shattered into a fine mist of glass that was caught and borne away by a stream of wind.

And above it all was the sound of everything breaking. Every device, invention, tool, mark of creation, had been built to break and was shutting down earlier than expected. The sky was intermittently lit with blinding flashes of light from thousands of miles away.

That’s when the floor split beneath me and I fell and as I fell the Earth fell with me. I flew into the centre of the Earth, through a ravine of solid rock that split in front of me like fog. I flew and flew downwards until finally my heart broke.


My body carried on falling, as did everything else. The planets, the stars, the galaxies, all at one moment blinked and collapsed in on itself. Something to do with the Universe believing in built-in-obsolescence and a word count.

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