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A Glitch in the Matrix
(© Tony Sandy)

Page 1

Mr Williams stormed up the road, grabbed the gate and slammed it behind him on his way into the garden; ignoring the fact that the fence had turned into a wall and the gate from metalwork to plain wood (He was beyond noticing or even caring about such trifles).

He made the house rock, with his temper banged door:† Once he would have cared what his imaginary neighbours thought, in his idyllic little world but not today no,† with it and him coming apart at the seams.

He picked up the phone and angrily dialled the helpline, somehow controlling his temper enough to let fly, when another human being came on the other end of the imaginary communications device (In reality all links in his mind).

"At last!† Mr Williams of 10 Tenterdown Gardens here and Iíd just like to give you a piece of my mind about your- "

"Your call is important to us," the supercilious, robotic voice intoned, interrupting his train of thought "-youíre 39th in the queue and an operator will be with as soon as possible."

Mr Williams made himself an imaginary coffee and steamed away as much as the drink almost.† When had this started, he thought to himself and why hadnít he noticed the symptoms sooner that his H34B, matrix unit was going up the creek?† Oh the bliss of yesterday....

The alarm rang.† Another beautiful, warm, sunny day.† He looked at his still sleeping wife. So gorgeous, so young, so willing and so unreal!† Martin looked at the clock.† 8.03.† The subtle changes that should have told him something was wrong hadnít yet registered and he would have dismissed them anyway, like St Paul denying the existence of Christ.† Time didnít so much stop as instantly jump forward by a few unnoticeable minutes.† Soon it would be undeniable hours, yet he would still try to reason it out.† Eventually the evidence would be overwhelming and he would be well and truly overwhelmed by it - but for now it was underwhelming, easily handled and dismissed out of hand.

He got up, brushed his teeth, had a cyber shower and a synthetic shave, waited for his Stepford wife mark 3 to make his breakfast, kiss him off to work and wave his fantasy journey to London goodbye.† Even though he had a Matrix Unit, Mark 3, Martin still needed the buzz of the city, even f it was only in his own mind; stocks and shares, buying and selling, The FT.† This was his dream occupation, literally.

"Miss Johnson, bring in The Wimbledon files."

How heíd longed to say that, like some self-important idiot - and here he was, a genuine self-important idiot!

"-Oh and bring me a coffee." he added.

"How splendid everything was and how splendidly everything worked (or at least that was what heíd thought up until then...). I feel like Candide, in the best of all possible worlds-" he pondered to himself, "by Bertolt Brecht!† Hold on thatís not right and I know itís not right.† Thoreau?† Hell I know thatís not right either!† What the hell is going on?"

Already the cracks were starting to show, inside and out.† Eventually he calmed down and tried to get on with some work. He picked up a pencil, which instantly turned into a pen.

"Oh dear, clumsy me!† Must have picked up the wrong implement."† He hadnít and hadnít noticed either.† "Must make an appointment with the optician when I get home." And so the day went on with him blaming his memory, his cack-handedness - anything but the breakdown of machinery, including the link to his own mind.† The trip home was a disaster as he felt more and more like the person Lou Reed sang about in ĎA Walk on the Wild Side.í He was a she, then a black, a white, a yellow and every colour imaginable in between.† The train became a bus, the bus a tram, then a string of bicycles - how could anyone concentrate on their Times crossword under such intolerable conditions!

Then it became like a Francois Truffaut film, ĎDay for Night,í followed by every conceivable seasonal change possible and even a few that werenít.† Was that New York as a skyline just then?† The desert, the sea, an ice cap - Mars?† ĎStop, Stop all the Dancing,í by The Hollies, reeled through his mind as a plea to whatever was causing this madness, this mayhem and then like the rain the cacophony, the chaos started to ease off, until finally he reached home and his garden gate.

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:Science Fiction
Type:Short story
Rating:3.71 / 10
Rated By:9 users
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