Talking Turbot

Everyone has their own personal dedicated nemesis and that’s a fact we just can’t do anything about, much as we’d like to! A whole bunch of machines had just sat down at the table next to mine and were talking away to each other in their flat abrasive voices, the way machines do. They were talking about eating turbot. They talked so much and so fast it was as if they had a head of pressure built up somewhere upstream which they had to release. It was also as if they didn’t actually care what they were talking about. Content didn’t matter, which is the way it always is with machines, I knew. There is never any content with machines.


Their hard little words drilled into my head and their laughter sent shock waves through the soft tissue of my body. I felt myself instinctively tensing up, my body attempting in this way to protect itself from the unyielding harshness of their voices. This is seriously spoiling my morning, I realized. They were all in so much of a hurry to talk nonsense at each other. Firing off bullets, lobbing lumps of concrete at each other like the machines they were. My head was starting to hurt. One of the machines had started to laugh extra loud at this stage and it was getting unbearable. They were talking about someone who had just had major surgery. I found myself wincing involuntarily – why did they have to sit next to me, I wondered? Was it a plot? Was it part of a plan?


The universe isn’t malign in itself because nothing is wholly evil. That’s not possible. That’s a cosmic principle. The universe isn’t entirely malign but everyone has their personal nemesis out there somewhere waiting for them like a guided missile, like a bullet with their name on it. What do you do when one of these bullets comes your way, I wondered? Not just any bullet but your own personalized bullet, the one with your name engraved on it? I knew this was a stupid question as I asked it because there’s nothing you can do. Do you just have to accept that moment I wondered, but I knew that this was a stupid question too…


The voices broke through again – harsher and more abrasive than ever. The machines were gabbling at each other faster and faster and it was approaching fever pitch. They were talking about people they knew who had died. Their words went right through me. Why did they have to talk so loudly when they were sitting right next to each other, I wondered? They hardly paused to draw breath. They didn’t pause to draw breath. They didn’t need to – they were machines. One of them was speaking particularly loudly and abrasively – I could hear her above all the rest. What a pure horror of a voice, I thought to myself. She spoke the loudest of all, and the fastest. She gabbled the most of all of them, and they were all gabblers. She was the one who had been talking about eating turbot.


Why does God permit this, I cry out silently inside myself. I knew that if I stayed here long enough my cells would begin to eat themselves. Autolysis would set in. And yet I felt as if my will was paralyzed – I felt incapable of action. With a supreme effort I managed to get to my feet and put my coat on. I walked out of the door, every last bit of energy drained from me. Behind me I could hear the machines talking at each other with renewed vigour….






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