New Beginnings … A Parable?
by Shay Ryan
Mikey was the last to leave the office – again. He always stayed on late to do extra work but this day he was reading an email which had been forwarded from his colleagues. It was from Diane, a former fellow account controller who had decided to quit the previous year. She had since travelled through Europe and now was in the third month of what she called her “Asian adventure”. She was currently working part time teaching English to a group of school children on the island of Jeju, just south of the Korean peninsula. A week earlier she had won the equivalent of ninety thousand euro on the local lottery. The weather was beautiful, her co-workers friendly and her only regret regarding her previous job in a stuffy office was that she had not done it sooner.
Mikey sighed loudly and proceeded to log out of his email account. “I wish something exciting would happen to me” he softly complained while clicking the icon to shut down his computer. The screen froze and refused to close down. As he looked closer the blue pixels seemed to swarm and two dark orbs, set close together, swirled to form darkening pin pricks at their centre. “Fuck this” he murmured and bent down to pull the plug from the socket – he was in no mood for temperamental computers this particular evening. When he straightened up, the pale blue glare from the screen had not abated; rather, it now bathed the entire desk, his hands and, though he could not see, he was sure his face was covered too. A tickling sensation seemed to draw his face upward. Unaware he was doing so he found himself staring at the screen. Or, to be more accurate, staring straight into the eyes of what he later described as “the mad fucker in the computer”. At least, that’s how it was recorded by the first Doctor to examine him.
Screen –what can I do for you?
Screen –that’s what I said. What do you want me to do for you?
By now, Mikey was fairly sure one of the tech guys was playing a prank on him. They had been known to play a few tricks in the past but this was truly great, an interactive being on the screen, in real time and with an unplugged computer –truly brilliant.
Mikey -ok, you want to do something for me?
Screen -that is what I ask. What task will you have me perform?
Thinking back to the email from Diane, Mikey decided quickly.
Mikey -make my life as exciting as Diane’s sounds in that email. I’m shit sick of this job and I want out!
Eddie, one of the tech guys, always used the phrase, “I’m shit sick of this and I want out!” Mikey looked around the office expecting Eddie or one of the lads to jump out and reveal themselves. Instead, the screen glowed brighter as the voice seeped out, all wet and slimy to his ears-
Screen– then it is as you wish it. When you wake in the morning your life will be so.
And with that the screen went dead. The lights to the office dimmed also and the door opened. Andy the security guard filled the doorway with his belly and said “come on now – have ye no homes to go to?!” “Just leaving now Andy. Are Eddie and the lads still here?” Mikey put on his coat. “God no, that lot left early today for the concert. You know, the Michael Bubble fella”. “Buble” corrected Mikey, walking out from the office with Andy to the side of him. “Ah, but you knew what I meant” smiled Andy. “I did Andy. Goodnight”. “Goodnight yourself Michael”, and Mikey left the building.
When morning came it was announced, as always, by the CD player and ‘I’m shipping up to Boston’ by the Dropkick Murphys. For once, it didn’t grab Mikey’s attention and fill him with energy for the day ahead. He found it loud and annoying and wished for something more poppy and rhythmic. As he turned in the bed and leant over to switch it off he trapped his chest against the edge of the mattress. Cursing, he reached further and pressed the off button.
From the corner of his eye he could see paper on his bed. A closer look and a bemused twenty minute count revealed almost ninety thousand euro in fifty euro notes. At the end of the bed was a brand new passport and a plane ticket for Seoul. By now very confused and feeling a little bloated he decided to have a piss and reassess the situation. “Not a piss, a number one” he corrected himself. As he reached the toilet he was about to perform when he noticed the seat was down, so he lifted it and reached below his waist. A voice came in to his head, a slippery, slimy voice all wet but charged with energy, “then it is as you wish it. When you wake in the morning your life will be so”.
Mikey turned to his left and looked in the mirror – a different face looked back, similar but less square and with higher cheekbones. He looked down at his chest and saw that it was hairless and his pecs, if that’s what they were, had increased in size. That was when he began to scream.
Later, the door to his flat had been kicked in by medics and law officers and the screaming had long since subsided to a gentler weep, mainly with the help of sedatives. The officer in charge instructed his men to search for some ID. A brand new passport lay on the floor next to a plane ticket. “Positive ID Sarge” called one of the officers, waving the passport in the air. “Looks like she was going on her holidays too, today by the looks of it. What a time to have a break down, poor girl”.