The Beginning of the End

Her instinct for conflict was virtually paranormal, and whenever I inadvertently broke wind in the house I knew that she would almost instantly materialise behind me – nose wrinkled in disgust and an accusatory remark primed and ready. Even if I’d seen her at the bottom of the garden ten seconds earlier, she would somehow manage to navigate three flower beds, cross two rooms and scale a staircase before the offending emissions dispersed, pinning herself to my back like a Mitsubishi Zero pilot going for kill number 9. These weren’t even psychological games any more; they were just expressions of almost perfect, intuitive antipathy.

My head throbbed painfully and I lay back in the chair, allowing the unit and the world to f-f-ade away. I began drifting towards sleep and the unit appeared in front of my closed eyes like a bizarre horror show curiously suspended in a Victorian ‘what the butler saw’ machine; but then the truth occurred to me. Far from being a fairground contrivance, the unit was really just a fearful exaggeration of the ‘normal’ conventional life everyone led, where physical decay, political correctness, bureaucracy, consumerism, selfishness, wastage, puerility and stress had sprouted with unusual vigour, but the same genus.

The unit was in many ways, just life under a microscope.


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