Sunday, 20 November 2011

Christmas story - part one

Woken from a deep sleep, Stephenson responded to the insistent and muffled, automated alarm signal in the computer room by searching for coordinates. There it was, about 6 miles out into the white wilderness, and he hit the 'received' acknowledgement before rushing to the cloakroom and donning the heavy weather gear hanging on a peg by the door.

Crunching through the snow, he made it to the half-track Search Engine, climbed up and immediately fired up the heater coils before going back out to clear as much of the white stuff from the screens as would not be shifted by the wipers.

As he pressed the button on the dash, the massive diesel slowly cranked over before it roared into life, and he let it run for a minute before turning the lights on, almost blinding his sleepy eyes in the process.

In a way he was lucky - Blogtopia was a vast and uncharted area, but the navigation screen showed that the Blogger who needed his attention the most was only a matter of 20 minutes away through the drifts of tedious, mind-numbing and life-threatening white blandness which stretched before him.

As the minutes passed by, the landscape reflected the almost constant tone of the diesel engine, which only shifted slightly flatter or sharper as the tracks bit into the snow according to the mild undulations of the terrain.

Stephenson reflected how many times he had traversed this stretch and wondered how it was now so unfamiliar to him between the swift to and fro of the wipers - how, in former times, he had seen the now stark and frosted trees turn from green to brown, then from beige to yellow ochre as they became visible in the harsh light of his halogen lamps. He had seen them veiled in seasonal mists and mellow fruitfulness, and now - to all intents - they could be dead.

He checked the navigator, and looked up expecting to see the shack on the outskirts from where the signal had emanated. Pretty soon it came into view, and he was relieved to see the occupant come running out into the drifts, then climb up to his cab and start blurting out the news.

"No - it ain't me - it's that woman who lives further inside - you know, the one who is always going on about cup-cakes and cushion covers. Well, we ain't heard from her for around two weeks now, and I have a feeling something's wrong. She hasn't had any comments since October, and she's disabled the facility anyway, so mine have never been posted. Her posts are getting fuckin' weird to boot"

"Language! How much diesel have you got?" Stephenson asked. When the tanks had been topped up for a predicted 2 hour trip into the hinterland, he set off again - alone.

He hoped he would be in time. It was going to be a long night.


  1. Hot toddy should solve it. Usually does in this household. Though to be fair, it often results in drifts of tedious mind-numbing and life threatening white blandness. Before sinking into a long night of welcome unconsciousness. But that's just me (and Mr EM).

  2. I'm going to add to the story above before I take your advice, Elegance.

  3. "Language. How much diesel have you got?"
    Funniest thing I have heard all day. Of course I've been in the house, sitting at a desk, talking to no one, listening to nothing but still the funniest thing I have heard all day.

  4. 'White stuff off the screens'

    Have you sneezed coke all over the iMac again?

  5. I assure you not, Chris. I had an image of Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining', which is where I think this story is going. I might treat it as some sort of advent calendar, but in my version, Shelley Duval will get the horrible death that she deserved in the original - "Stop snivelling, woman!"

  6. I'm looking forward to part 2.