Thursday, 2 April 2009


It was late - and getting later.

A man in his mid thirties sat in a blank office somewhere in a nondescript town at the edge of nowhere. The walls were white and the large sheet glass windows looked out onto a dull, grey industrial estate, the sky as blank and as featureless as the room he sat in. The only exit was a plain wooden door in the wall behind him.

He was typing, transfixed to the single monitor on his otherwise bare desk. The mans fingers rapidly moved across the keyboard with almost supernatural speed, his eyes darting up to look at the clock. To him, its hands seemed to be getting quicker, as if the faster he typed time sped up... and so the closer the deadline drew.

To the casual observer, the reams of apparently random numbers and letters he laid out on the screen would've made little sense. Occasionally you could make out a word within the text and code, but it would be quickly swallowed up and swamped in the crazed reverse Tetris of characters. The matter of fact was that even to the man, what he was writing made little sense. It was stream-of-conciousness babble. But that's what he was there to create. That was his job.

The hand ticked closer and closer to three o'clock in the morning.

Sweat had appeared on the mans brow. The speed of his typing had got a point where it had become a physical exhertion, his fingers screaming at him to stop, the ache of carpal tunnel beginning to enter his wrists. Damp patches had appeared on his grey shirt and a trace of condensation had begun to creep up from the bottom of his glasses.

Numbers followed numbers that followed letters. The scrolling had become almost rythmic. The blank system font rolled ever upwards, the occasional break in the unintelligible sentencing giving it the appearence of an ancient scroll.

Thirty seconds.

He gritted his teeth. The pain had really start to hit him now. His fingers were almost raw at the tip, blisters had begun to form. The keyboard itself seemed hot to touch. But he had to keep going.

Fifteen seconds.

Nearly there... nearly there...


His eyes nagged at him to look at the clock, but there was no time... no time...





The man gritted his teeth.


At that precise moment, the screen locked. His hands hovered over the keys and he allowed himself a glance up at the clock, before looking down again at the final sentence of characters.


He lowered his head, took his glasses off and wiped them dry on his shirt. Then, letting out a sharp breath, he turned to the simple white phone on his desk, picked it up and pressed the hash key twice.

There was a click on the line. The man cleared his throat.

"We have a new deadline."

Then, slowly, he put the phone down, stood, took his suit jacket that was draped over the back of his chair, walked over to the plain wooden door, opened it and walked out.

The room lay quiet and still - until the next day, when it would all begin again...