Two weeks without The Internet.
Deep inside an office block, between floors, within walls, stuffed in the offal of pipes and wires, in the parts that people never see, sits a wretch of a man. A Jonah amongst the dank dripping ducts and tubes that dribble a viscous disgust, he hunches over an antiquated keyboard muttering obscenities to himself, as prayers. Vile waves of putrid liquid lap at his ankles for attention as he skitters back and forth on an ancient office chair, the wheels squeal like long tortured souls. A red light blinks faintly beneath the layer of filth and dessicated insect cadavers that cover a cobwebbed monitor. He brushes a lank cloying shank of hair across his greasy skull and laughs – a sickening gurgle bubbles up from his diseased lungs to escape like a high-rise gas leak. He reaches bone-white chop-stick fingers towards an wooden magenta switch marked “Internet” and clacks it to “Off”, coughing blood and mucus victoriously.
I am in my room, floating at the ceiling. The instant I spy my body below I feel myself swimming down, sucked like food scraps down the plughole.
I open my eyes. All seems normal until I try to move. I cannot. I am a limbless torso, arms and legs shorn at shoulder and hip. My eyes bulge with terror like egg yolks in a hot pan, yet I cannot scream. I am mute and insensitive.
In my fever, I roll from my bed and face-plant the floor. I chin my way through the hair and skin and pizza droppings towards the telephone.
I wander between worlds, between fear and resignation, but manage to nose the word H.E.L.P into the telephone, and collapse into the irreal, a carrier bag once wafting loose now stamped flat.
I awake. I am in my room, this accursed cell, afoot ; stark and rigid like a storm-struck tree, sharp blackened limbs reaching frozenly, ossified finger-twigs remembering the double-click.
Flick your switch you wretch! I recognise your power… deliver me from this life-in-death!
I am the bumblebee that you step over, briefly shocked, on your way to work, left forgotten and robbed by the side of the road, trying to crawl, unable to find my way back to the hive.