Author Archives: dhblogger

The Fat Cat in the Red Hat

There was a sharp knock on the heavy oak door, which swung open into the dim evening light of the Oval Office.

‘Mr. President, the PR team is here for the daily update. Mr. President…are you alright down there?’

A flustered-looking face poked out from behind the opulent sofa in the middle of the room. Wayward strands of yellow hair were stuck to the moist brow of President Trump, as he crawled out on all fours and stood up.

‘Lost my fidget spinner,’ he said breathlessly as he dusted himself off.

‘Gone behind the sofa.’

‘I’ll get someone on it right away, sir.’

‘Get the girl from the press office. What’s her name, she’s got really skinny arms, like a child’s arms.’

‘Rosita, sir? I think she has a skeletal condition, I’m not sure if…’

‘Yeah, I knew it was one of those brown ones. Get her up here right away.’

‘Yes, sir. Eh, your PR team, sir.’

A group of nervous-looking men shuffled into the room and stood awkwardly at the door.

‘Alright, sit down, let’s do this quickly. I’ve already had two meetings today, it’s crazy in here.’

The men sat down in the chairs around the formidable desk as the President collapsed into his chair.

‘Good evening, Mr. President,’ said one of the men, shuffling some papers in his lap.

‘Yeah, yeah, get on with it. Where did I put that other spinner?’

As the President rifled through the drawers of his desk, the man cleared his throat and continued hesitantly,

‘Well, eh, J.K. Rowling has been Tweeting about you again, sir.’

‘Rowling, who’s that? Did I play golf with him last week?’

‘No sir, she wrote the Harry Potter books. You know, Hogwarts?’

‘Hogwarts? They’re back again? Can you see them? I need to get some more of that cream.’

‘No sir, it’s fine. Put your trousers back on, please. Anyway, it’s the 20th anniversary of the books and Rowling was answering fans’ questions on Twitter. Someone asked if she would ever write a villain based on you and she Tweeted back,

“What a great idea. I could call it Harry Potter and the Big Orange Twat.”’

‘I don’t get it.’

‘It’s not important sir, but it got us thinking that maybe it would be good to try to soften your image with young people.’

‘Young people love me, I’m great with young people.’

‘Indeed sir, but we thought it would be a good idea if you wrote a children’s book yourself.’

‘I’ve written tons of books, I have the best books. Tell them to read The Art of the Deal, you can never start too young.’

‘Sir, the focus groups are showing that a warm, engaging children’s book coming from the Oval Office could shift your image with young people away from the creepy, handsy uncle perception to more of an affable, doddery grandfather type.’

‘This sounds like a lot of work, I’ve got golf tomorrow morning, I need to fly out tonight.’

‘We’ve freed up your schedule for a few hours, sir. All we need is a rough draft and we’ll have the press office do the rest.’

‘Have any other politicians done this?’

‘Yes sir, quite a few. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn’s just written one.’

‘Who?’

‘Corbyn, the UK opposition leader.’

‘The homeless guy who can’t do a high-five?’

‘Yes, his book is called The Very Hungry Caterpillar who Lost his Food Stamps due to Tory Cuts.’

‘Never heard of it.’

‘It’s not great. Marine Le Pen wrote one recently too, it’s called Where the Even Wilder Things Are. It’s about Calais, apparently.’

‘Calais, what’s that? A type of cheese?’

‘…Yes. Yes, it is. Very good, Mr. President.’

‘I knew it. Nobody knows more about cheese than me. I’ve got some cheese in one of these drawers, you guys want some? Let me have a look here.’

‘Eh, sir, Putin has just released one too. I mean it’s just transparent anti-Western propaganda, but it’s given him a five-point bump among 11 to 15-year-old undecideds.’

‘Vladimir Putin?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Did he respond to my Tweet yet?’

‘Which one, sir?’

‘Any of them.’

‘No, sir.’

‘Time difference issue, I imagine. Well, what’s his book? Is there golf in it?’

‘I don’t think so sir, it’s called Charlotte’s Web of Lies. It’s about a 9-year old girl who gets locked up for posting pro-homosexual propaganda on her Facebook page.’

‘Sounds like a good read. Get a copy for me.’

‘It also comes with an autographed photo of Putin himself.’

‘What’s he doing in the photo? Is it just the face or full body?’

‘I’m…not sure sir. I could check…’

‘Just get me five copies.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Okay, get out of here and let me write this thing.’

‘Excellent, sir. Here’s some paper and a new box of colouring pens. Now, remember what we talked about last time. If you don’t put the lids back on…’

‘Yeah yeah, they dry out, I know, I know. Gimme that.’

‘May I suggest a Dr. Seuss type book, sir? I think that would suit your…unique style.’

‘Who’s Dr. Zeus? Does he have my cream? He sounds foreign. Gary’s my doctor. He wears an army uniform.’

‘…Good luck, sir.’

~

Let me tell you a tale

Of a big White House

And the traitorous fraud

Who lived there with his spouse

 

It’s a story of winning

And electoral drama

It’s the tale of the Donald

And that sucker Obama

 

It starts with a boy

Who grew up in Queens

Already a winner

While still in his teens

 

He made so much money

And had all the best things

All the women he wanted

And more gold than kings

 

But the people were jealous

And the laws were corrupt

It wasn’t his fault

He kept going bankrupt

 

He moved into TV

With the best talent show

People loved The Apprentice

(Should’ve won the Emmy though)

 

Then one fateful night

This loveable winner

Went to the White House

To attend a dinner

 

By the vicious Obama

He was mocked and hurt

The guy never even

Showed us his birth cert!

 

So our hero decided

He’d show that chump

He’d get his revenge

As President Trump!

 

And so it began

His quest hard and long

The losers all doubted him

Well guess what guys…Wrong!

 

So the campaign started

And Trump hit the trail

His opponent was Hillary

(who should be in jail)

 

Trump told the people

He’d build a big wall

To keep out bad hombres

(And they’ll pay for it all)

 

The media were mean

But Trump was too clever

Even for Megyn Kelly

And her bloody…whatever

 

They spread lies about him

But the voters weren’t fussy

They knew that the Don

Grabbed life by the pussy

 

Then election night

Saw Hillary collapse

(Oh, have I shown you

These electoral maps?)

 

Hillary had folded

To Trump the champ

(Just like John McCain

In that POW camp)

 

So Trump won the vote

Now he sits in the chair

While the rest of you losers

Are left out there

 

He won, he’s the best

He’s a real Alpha man

Getting things done

Like his great Muslim ban

 

There’s some talk about Russia

As if it’s a -gate

But don’t worry folks,

He’s here for the eight!

 

The future is bright

We’re all winning bigly

With President Trump

He’s our man – Covfefe!

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And Never Brought to Mind (Again)

It was Nietzsche who wrote: “To live is to suffer; to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”

Well I wish I could channel some of Gloria Gaynor’s optimism right now but I get the feeling that if our survival depends on extricating some grand meaning from the veritable shit pile of suffering that was the year 2016, we’re going to need a bigger shovel.

In fact if 2016 were a person then Nietzsche’s life seems to be conveniently analogous, seeing as it was one marred early on by tragic deaths, scarred throughout by severe ill health, and finally and mercifully extinguished only after a prolonged deterioration into madness.

Thankfully we don’t have to wait much longer now for the denouement, though if the process could be sped up at all I’m sure we’d all be on the first plane to Switzerland, dragging this burdensome, festering near-corpse of a year behind us in an effort to forego whatever fresh hell its death throes may yet vomit onto the carpet of civilisation.

The morbid imagery is apt, as 2016 looks set to be remembered – for whatever brief, hellish future remains for us to eke out – as the year of death. Not content with simply providing us with the usual amount of war, conflict and terror, this year we’ve been treated to an especially horrific smorgasbord of human pain and torment. It has been a miserable existence this year for so many groups of people: Syrians caught up in a bloody civil war, tourists attacked by bloodthirsty fanatics, and black people in the US who wanted to do things like drive through town or walk down the street.

Perhaps the only place more dangerous than Aleppo this year has been the world of show business, as 2016 ruthlessly dispatched celebrities with the zealous abandon of a drone at a Pakistani wedding party. Bowie, Prince, Ali, even R2-D2 died for fuck’s sake. It’s bad enough when someone you respect and admire passes away but even worse is having to deal with the outpouring of ostentatious social media grief from the kind of people who celebrate their cat’s birthdays.

There were times this year when we got up to at least a 7 or 8 on the Princess Diana-Ometer of disingenuous attention seeking. Twitter has only compounded this phenomenon as each passing is now hailed with a cacophony of teary emoticons, exclamation marks and greeting card phraseology digitally expectorated with a drooling vacancy by the chattering classes.

This was also the year that politics in the UK went from worrying about how Ed Miliband eats a sandwich to a Votey McVoteface catastrophe as the country committed economic and political seppuku to spite the Brussels fat cats who had for so long lorded over them with an iron fist of politeness, inclusive democracy and subsidisation.

The tabloid level of public discourse on display during the campaign, and the ultimate victory of witless, shameless demagoguery should probably have given us an indication of how events would unfold later in the year across the Atlantic, but most people were too busy floundering in apocalyptic angst to indulge in this kind of analysis. Or maybe even at that stage, there remained a modicum of hope, of faith in ordinary people to make a sound decision for their future. I can’t be sure as I can’t remember what that feels like.

And so we move to the biggest story of 2016, and to the proud nation that has just elected a human YouTube comment as its commander in chief. In one fell swoop the trite and much-maligned concept of American exceptionalism was confirmed as reality once and for all, if not exactly as it was meant, as US citizens defeated all competition in the race to the bottom of the barrel of narcissistic populism, displaying the collective self-awareness of an inert gas with Asperger syndrome.

This is the endgame of neoliberalism, of letting the free market dictate societal progress. An ideology that not only accepted but embraced some of the worst characteristics of a species still suffering from an evolutionary hangover and stumbling round in a haze of fear, anger and primitive chest-beating was never going to end well.

This is the broken, bitterly divided, hideously unequal pot of shit at the end of the shimmering rainbow of the American Dream. The US is trapped in a Kafkaesque Bruce Springsteen song, becoming ever more socially and culturally bereft as everything turns to misery and loss.

The binary echo chambers of the fascistic, identity obsessed left and the intractable, dried-up paleo-conservative husks will continue to orbit at a distance around the frustrated, disenfranchised majority whose antiquated political system has robbed them of their voice, and now their future.

But never fear, the wretched failed experiment in democracy that is America will stumble on in its own crass, inimitable way. After all, tomorrow is another day and there is work to be done: freedom to be wrested from tyranny; superhero sequels to be released; and of course, walls to be built. Home of the brave, indeed.

I suppose I should try to finish on a positive note and mention some of the happier moments of the year, such as they were.

Bernie Sanders was a brief bright spot amidst the gloom of the US election, refreshing the political tableau of the country with his ability to form long, coherent sentences and display something approaching human empathy. That is, before he was inevitably crushed by the Clinton money machine, like some insignificant insect or a woman whom Bill sexually assaulted.

In the world of mass entertainment as avoidance of reality the first season of Westworld was pretty good. That said, it’s a little disconcerting that TV plots now seem to be written not with story or character as the driving force, but rather constructed in such a convoluted way as to evade the painstaking, labyrinthine speculation by a committee of Reddit neckbeards that every frame of every episode is now subjected to. There’s also the unshakeable feeling that these violent delights will have nebulous and frustratingly unresolved ends.

Okay, more positives…well…the Olympics was fun I guess? Mmm…Zika didn’t become as widespread as initially feared…Planet Earth II? That was pretty impressive, right? Even if that terrifying scene with the lizard and the snakes provided us with a fitting existential metaphor for the year it’s been.

Well, what else is left to say? The long, painful penetration of the annus horribilis is almost at an end. So wipe yourself down, take a deep breath and brace yourself for 2017. It’s going to be yuge.


All’s Well That Trends Well

To celebrate the recent 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, one independent drama company is planning a series of the great man’s plays with a modern twist.

The Millennial Theatre Company for Millennials is situated in a trendy borough of London that is home to a plethora of pop-up art galleries, theatres, organic coffee shops and confused, angry locals slowly being airbrushed out of existence by the unyielding yoke of gentrification.

Indeed this chic quarter is so fashionable that it foregoes the archaic nominative traditions that have historically been used to label residents of an area as being residents of that particular area, and is often referred to by those in the know as simply The Borough with No Name.

The company’s innovative re-imaginings of the Bard’s work are designed to attract a whole new audience of young, vibrant trendsetters to the world of community theatre. Its tagline of “Drama: It’s Dramatic!” underlines the simple approach of its director, Fiach Atticus Higgins-Collins.

“Young people want to be entertained,” says Higgins-Collins. “Shakespeare’s works have a lot of extraneous nuance and subtext that tends to confuse people. We’ve just focused on keeping the drama, and that’s what our theatre is all about: Drama.”

The last word is whispered with the sincerity of a true artist at work. His ground-breaking vision is one of theatre as social network, in which the audience plays an active part in proceedings.

“They’re encouraged to Tweet their reactions scene by scene, to live blog the plays, to put pictures on Instagram,” explains the director.

“The audience is our portal to the digital world,” he says with a theatrical and rather complex hand gesture that lasts several seconds.

So what can people hope for from yet another modern Shakespeare adaptation?

“Whatever happens it’s going to be dramatic,” promises Higgins-Collins, “very dramatic.”

To give us a taste of what we can expect the company has kindly provided the following guide to the programme of plays, with a brief synopsis of each one.

~

Hamlet

The King of Denmark is having problems with paranormal activity in his royal residence. He needs to put his mind at ease so he can get back to being fiscally prudent and enjoying football and expensive beer in moderation. So who’s he gonna call? That’s right – Ghost Büsters!

Not to be confused with any existent trademarked fictional paranormal detectives, Ghost Büsters are Scandinavia’s premier exorcism specialists. Which of course means that they have their own reality TV show on Danish satellite channel Kanal Umlaut.

Follow the exploits of the team, Lars, Kristian, Lars Kristian and Magnusson Lars Magnusson as they investigate the ghoulish goings-on at Castle Hamlet. Will they succeed in ridding the place of its spectral intruders before the important visit of the Norwegian Minister for Fishing? What supernatural device does Lars Kristian find in the Queen’s underwear drawer? And which of the house servants comes under increasing suspicion as the full story is revealed in a devastating and dramatic denouement? To be there or not to be there – there is no question!

Romeo and Juliet

This timeless love story is brought into the digital age in this brave adaptation. Romeo is bored with meeting the same dull, vacuous girls on Tinder, and is feeling hopeless. When he comes across Juliet’s profile, however, it’s love at first swipe.

The two share stories, laughs and animal memes as Romeo falls deeper in love with this seemingly perfect woman. Her answer to every question is exactly the response he had hoped for; every text is witty and self-deprecating; she shares every one of his hobbies, interests and rather vanilla sexual fantasies. Romeo is besotted – he must meet her in person.

However the frisson of romance is dissolved in a heartbreaking and dramatic twist when Juliet turns out to be a Google drone that had been deployed for marketing purposes in order to improve their targeted advertising algorithms. Romeo is crushed, and after sharing some valuable insurance policy price-comparing information, and a somewhat clumsy yet beautiful kiss, the two part ways forever.

Elizabeth II

Nobody wants to hear about a boring old bunch of Richards, Henrys and Johns so the Bard’s oeuvre of historical plays have been replaced with a majestic and moving tribute to the current Queen and her family. In fact most of the play centres on Prince William and Princess Catherine, since Twitter polls have shown that they’re the most popular royals among most key demographics. The Queen and Prince Philip are actually quite far down the list behind all of their great-grandchildren, some of their pets and even a few of Princess Charlotte’s teddy bears.

There is also the fact that a large number of millennials are somewhat hazy on the particulars of the monarchy; many of them think that the Queen is either David Cameron’s mum, or the woman who invented paper money.

The action of the play, therefore, is mostly based around the morning of an OK Magazine photo shoot in William and Catherine’s stately mansion. The drama unfolds as our protagonists are forced to deal with lighting problems, make-up shortages, and a delightfully whimsical last-minute wardrobe change after a hilarious (and dramatic) juice spillage.

The play also presents us with several tense sub-plots such as Prince George’s traumatic flashbacks to his brave battle against chickenpox, and Princess Charlotte’s touching personal struggle to learn how to use a spoon to eat her yoghurt.

Othello

Othello is a Syrian refugee who attempts to flee his war-torn homeland with his family to start a new life in Europe. The story follows his heartbreaking struggle in the face of adversity.

Othello’s journey begins with a narrow escape from death in his country’s bloody civil war, which impels him to seek a new life for his loved ones. The family overcome many physical, emotional, financial and political obstacles on their odyssey to the safe haven of Europe, enduring oppression, rebuttal and failure at every turn.

Eventually Othello and his family are successfully processed and granted asylum to live and work in Europe. Many months after they had set out on the long road to meet their uncertain future, they finally arrive at their new home: a sleepy English seaside village that reminds Othello of his grandfather’s home town which he used to visit as a boy. He is relieved beyond words, beyond emotions; relieved, content and even a little proud of what he has achieved for his family.

Their travails along the way have made them stronger and brought them closer to each other than they had ever thought possible. They wake at last to a dawn full of promise and possibility.

Unfortunately two weeks later Britain votes to leave the EU and they are promptly sent home.

Macbeth

This tale of a married couple seduced and corrupted by the promise of political power is transposed to the more glamorous setting of the US for a contemporary audience, because nobody cares about Scottish independence.

The gullible, power-hungry Macbeth manages to get elected President through nefarious means, while his cold, calculating wife is the real power behind the throne.

Years after her husband’s career has finished, the cunning Lady Macbeth plots a return to power. Spurred on by her ruthless ambition, hurt by the indiscretions of her husband and supported by supremely powerful vested interests, this reptilian warmonger looks set to claim the Presidency for herself, with only a court Fool standing in her way on the other side of the political divide.

Enter the brave Macduff, a plain-speaking, honest merchant, and a member of the Macbeths’ own court. His is a hopeless task as he attempts to stand up for the rights of the downtrodden and defy the might of the Macbeth dynasty. However his wit, intelligence and integrity convince the people of the realm that the last thing they need is another Macbeth on the throne, and the vile harridan is defeated.

King Lear

Juxtaposing this classic tale of human suffering and familial conflict with the trappings of the modern entertainment industry, this adaptation sees the Lear family take their dispute to the ultimate arbiter of fairness and justice in the land: Mr. Jeremy Kyle.

The absurdly wealthy landowner Lear, a mean-tempered, conservative war veteran, is terminally ill and wishes to divide his estate among his three daughters. Regan, the eldest, is married to a successful City broker and has raised a family of her own. Goneril, the middle child, is a partner at one of the country’s top law firms. Both appear on the show to fulsomely profess their love and respect for their father.

Cordelia, the youngest, has always been different, and has not spoken to her father for many years. She identifies as a non-binary pangender individual who lives an austere, self-sufficient life on an alpaca farm in Cumbria with her life partner Esperanza, with whom she has adopted six children, each from a different African country. They earn a little extra money by making Anarchist Party woollen jumpers that they sell online.

The explosive and dramatic showdown between estranged father and daughter is one you won’t want to miss. Can Lear and Cordelia grow to accept each other before it’s too late? Will Jeremy’s sage judgement help Lear to overcome his heteronormative bias and embrace his little girl’s life choices? Or will the drama be too much to keep this dysfunctional family from crumbling apart? Drama!

The Tempest

Climate change is having a more egregious impact on our planet as each year goes by, and this retelling serves as a prophetic warning about its dangers.

As prevailing weather conditions become more erratic around the globe, the Pacific Ocean becomes one of the most turbulent regions, being struck almost daily by violent storms. One fateful day a super storm with immensely powerful wind speed hits just a few miles off the US coastline, causing a massive waterspout.

This spout causes thousand of the sea’s most fearsome (and most dramatic) creatures, great white sharks, to be pulled out of the ocean depths and deposited onto the streets of downtown LA, resulting in chaotic scenes of epic proportions.

* The Millennial Company’s legal team has advised that this synopsis be accompanied by a reminder that the company’s recent legal battle with the Syfy channel was settled out of court, and that the details of said case shall remain private by special court order.

Elizabeth II Part II

This one hasn’t been written yet, but it will just be the most popular characters from Part I repeating the catchphrases that trended the most over and over again.


Presidential Disorder

The lights come up on a stage with seven equally spaced, empty podiums. A large audience is in attendance, and as a woman enters from stage left, the crowd rises to its feet, cheering and applauding. The woman turns to the audience and the assembled television cameras and raises a microphone.

Oprah: Good evening America!

Crowd: Good evening Oprah! We love you!

Oprah: Welcome! Welcome everyone, to the 2023 Republican Presidential Debate, sponsored by Trump Cola. Mmm, tastes like capitalism!

Crowd erupts into whooping and hollering and a “U.S.A.” chant breaks out. Eventually they take their seats and fix their glazed expressions once more on Oprah.

Oprah: Well, after seven glorious years under President Trump, it’s finally time to start thinking about who we want to be the next leader of the free world. Tonight we meet the seven candidates who will contest the primary for the presidential nomination for the greatest, and thanks to our current President, the only, political party in America: The Republican Party!

Crowd explodes into a frenzy of thunderous applause and indecipherable feral yelping. At one point somebody produces a banjo. Eventually they take their seats again.

Oprah: Let’s meet the contestants!

The live band that has been hidden in a shaded alcove springs into life and begins to play a bass-heavy version of “I am a Real American” as seven figures file onto the stage.

Oprah: Introducing…the man who said he’d be back, he’s no girly-man, Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Next, the first daughter hoping to be the next little lady in the big house, Chelsea Clinton!

Back from Alaska for another shot, the mom who came in from the cold, Sarah Palin!

He’s not the Messiah, but he’s a very talented boy, voice of a generation, Kanye West!

A reluctant late entry to the race, former Democrat, Old Man River himself, Bernie Sanders!

The belle of the ball, and winner of the 2023 Hoes That Pose reality TV show, 6-year old child beauty pageant sensation, Amber May Alabama!

And lastly, a surprise wild card entry into the race after a special sitting of Trump Congress. Ladies and gentlemen, your President, looking for four more years, Donald “The Donald” Trump!

Crowd erupts into a cacophony of jingoistic yodelling, saucepan clanking and pistol shots. A sheep emerges from the maelstrom and runs off stage right. A man dressed as Uncle Sam gets hit with a steel chair. After some minutes they settle and retake their seats.

Oprah: Okay, it’s time to start the questions. Unfortunately the network has stipulated that the debate can last no more than ten minutes this year, in order to avoid a clash with tonight’s eagerly awaited finale of Dancing with the Stars: Sitcom Wars between the casts of Modern Family, and Modern Family spin-off Lily’s High School Misadventures. Accordingly, each candidate will be asked just one question on a given topic and will have one minute to answer.

Bernie: That’s not a debate, how dumbed-down can you get?  I knew I shouldn’t have lowered myself to this circus…

Oprah: Dumbed-down? Bernie please, you’re being ridiculous. Okay folks, it’s question time and you know what that means. Let’s…Spin That Wheel!

Crowd leaps to its feet, yammering approval, as a giant wheel is rolled in from offstage.

Oprah: Okay folks, you know how it works. Each candidate will spin the Issue Wheel, and will receive a question on whatever issue the arrow lands on. Immigration, Terrorism, God, all the big ones are up there! Okay, Arnold, you’re up first. Come on up and…

Crowd: SPIN THAT WHEEL!

Oprah: Okay, let’s go. Wow, that’s a good strong spin there, Arnold. Now we just wait…until the arrow stops…still going…that really was a big spin…Arnold’s new movie Terminator: Revelations is out next week folks, get your preview tickets now…

Arnold: I play a Terminator Satan. But it’s very understated.

Oprah: Okay…and, it’s stopped! Finally. Okay Arnold, your issue is immigration. Your question is this: Do you agree with the construction of the Trump Wall and would you continue the President’s policy of selective immigration protocols based on physical attractiveness?

Arnold: As you know Oprah, I am an immigrant myself. So I feel I am best placed to say to these illegal immigrants: Your stay here has been terminated. Hasta la vista, baby! That’s Mexican for “Go back to Mexico”.

Crowd rises in rapturous approval

Bernie: Jesus Christ…

Donald: Obviously Mr. Sanders thinks it’s okay to take the Lord’s name in vain. Go back to Soviet Russia, Comrade Bernie!

Crowd boos loudly and some throw peanuts at Bernie

Arnold: Bernie’s candidacy has been terminated. Ha ha. Ha ha. Terminated. Ha ha. Like the film.

Okay, next up is Ms. Clinton. Let’s…

Crowd: SPIN THAT WHEEL!

Oprah: Okay Chelsea, your issue is Family. How do you feel about the political legacy left by your father? Will you ever be able to emulate his achievements, or are you simply trading on a well-known political surname?

Chelsea: Well, I’m actually really glad I get a chance to address this tonight because this campaign has been such a cathartic exp-

Arnold: Hey Chelsea!

Chelsea: Em, yes? I’m kind of in the middle of some-

Arnold: Who is your Daddy and what does he do?

Arnold turns and winks at the camera as the crowd goes wild

Chelsea: Can I answer the question now or-

Oprah: Okay, let’s move on!

Crowd: SPIN THAT WHEEL!

Oprah: Kanye, you’re up. Okay, your issue is Celebrity. As part of President Trump’s Celebrity Cabinet Initiative, you’re currently the Secretary of State. Do you really think celebrities are suited to these important positions?

Kanye: Absolutely. Everybody that isn’t me makes mistakes, as we saw with Secretary of Defence Beyonce’s recent nuclear mishap with North Korea. But that song she wrote about it afterwards was number 1 for six weeks and had a killer beat. So I ask you, how much is a human life really worth?

Oprah: Okay…ah Bernie, it’s your turn to…

Crowd: SPIN THAT WHEEL!

Bernie: A question mark, what does that mean?

Oprah: It’s the Mystery Prize! Bernie, you’ve just won a washer-dryer!

Bernie: Oh for God’s sake. Can we please talk about child pover-

Oprah: No time Bernie! Time to spin the wheel again! Okay this time it’s…Education!

Bernie: Finally, a real issue. Okay, so there are three fundamental problems with our education system that need to be tackled before we-

Kanye runs up to Bernie and grabs the microphone from his hand

Kanye: I’mma let you finish Bernie but I just wanted to say I don’t think making fried chicken is any kind of a qualification to be President.

Bernie: I’m not Colonel Sanders you moron, what the fu-

Arnold: Chill out, dickwad!

Oprah: Okay, time to move onto our next candidate, Sarah Palin. Sarah…

Crowd: SPIN THAT WHEEL!

Oprah: Okay Sarah, your issue is God. How big an influence is God in your daily life, and how much would your faith influence your Presidency?

Sarah: Well Oprah, I think America is God’s country. Otherwise why would he have made it the greatest country in the world?

Crowd roars its approval and rises to its feet, waving miniature American flags

Sarah: And if God doesn’t love freedom, why did he only give it to civilised people in mostly white countries?

Oprah: Em…

Crowd continues to go crazy. Somebody throws a pig dressed as Lincoln into the air.

Sarah: And if God doesn’t hate homosexuals, then why did he make them so easy to spot? I mean they prance around the place like-

Oprah: Okay, and your minute is up! Ah, thanks Sarah. Little Miss Amber May, you’re up next honey. Let’s…

Crowd: SPIN THAT WHEEL!

Crowd emits a collective “Aaaawww” as the diminutive Amber May totters over to the wheel in her six inch heels

Amber May: Ms. Oprah, Ma’am, I can’t reach that there wheel. She’s higher’n a kite on a Mississippi Mayday.

Crowd: Aaaaaaawwwww

Arnold: I will help the tiny prostitute to spin the wheel.

Arnold spins the wheel so hard it comes off its axel and rolls away offstage, mowing down a cameraman on the way.

Arnold: Oops.

Oprah: Ah, okay. Amber May, my producer is telling me to ask you about the War on Terror. How do you think ISIS’s latest incursions in North Africa have affected geopolitical stability?

Amber May: Shucks, I just wish there wasn’t so much fightin’ and that all them brown folks could get along. Pops had some chickens once that was like that, always fightin’ like varmints. Then one day he just done wrung their necks and that was the end of it.

Crowd: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwww

Oprah: Okay, we’ve got one minute left, and no wheel…

Crowd: SPIN THAT WHEEL!

Oprah: I said we’ve got no wheel you braindead…ah…okay, let’s go to President Trump for the final word. Mr. President?

Donald: America, if you give me four more years, I will continue to crush our enemies, see them driven before us, and hear the lamentations of their women.

Arnold: Hey, that’s my line!

Donald: U.S.A.! U.S.A.!…

Crowd: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Oprah: Well, you’ve heard from all the candidates. Now it’s up to you, the American public, to decide. To gauge the reaction to tonight’s debate we’ve had a Twitter poll running all night. And I can now announce that the winner is…me. Oprah. Ah, I think some of you may have misunderstood what was happening here tonight. Oh well, we’re nearly out of time, you know what that means. Everybody grab a partner! Goodnight America!

The lights are dimmed as the band starts to play a Garth Brooks tune. The crowd and the candidates all file out onto the floor and begin line dancing. As the camera pans out Donald swings Chelsea around the floor and begins to slide his hand down her lower back. Arnold grabs Oprah and spins her, accidentally putting her through the studio wall. Bernie Sanders simply stands at his podium disconsolately, aghast at what is unfolding before him. He trudges offstage, his feet crunching over the detritus of miniature American flags as a solitary tear runs down his cheek.


Islamic State of Affairs

A video recently surfaced online in which a member of Islamic State appealed for new recruits to join the organisation, not as combatants, but in some of the less celebrated sections of the organisation.

If beheading innocent people isn’t really your thing but you make a mean roulade, maybe you could answer Allah’s call as a chef? Or perhaps after years of suckling at the teat of the infidel you’ve become an electronics whizz. Why not put your heretical education to good use and enjoy an exciting career as a bomb-maker? The most eye-catching job vacancy though was that of ISIS Press Officer, a position that would surely require such a level of spin that it would make even Alastair Campbell dizzy.

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to avail of such an opportunity. If one were inclined to become a terrorist you’d think there must be a few insurgent groups out there that at least allow fun things like sex, alcohol and exposing your forearms in public. ISIS on the other hand don’t seem to tolerate anything of the sort, their moral code seemingly a stringent combination of North Korean subjugation, Nazi fanaticism and the moral sensibilities of the old townspeople from Footloose.

If somebody were to take the PR job, however, their first task would probably be to create an Islamic State newspaper; what maniacal group of savages bent on death and destruction can do without its very own propaganda department? Let’s imagine what that newspaper might look like in this, the very first edition of the new weekly publication The Wahhabi Times

~

– International News

A round-up of what’s happening in the corrupt wasteland of the apostate that surrounds our heavenly enclave

Elections are due to be held next year to replace the vile infidel Obama as Commander in Chief of the West’s drone war against Arab children, wedding parties, and the odd insurgent or two.

The early favourite to win the vote is Hillary Clinton, whose frigid demeanour and lesbian haircut pushed her husband into the arms of wanton Jewesses during his time in office. Bill spent the rest of his tenure imposing horrific sanctions on the Middle East, bombing pharmaceutical factories and, worst of all, indulging in the venal sin of playing smooth jazz, the most suggestive of all the forbidden music genres. Now his wife looks set to continue his evil but undeniably charismatic reign of terror. The decadent harpy even had the cheek to ask ISIS for a campaign donation.

Other candidates include Rand Paul, who doesn’t even believe in Presidents (witness the hypocrisy of the infidel), and Tom Cruz, star of Top Gun, a revealing documentary on the rampant homosexuality in the US armed forces.

In other international news, we’ve just checked and we can confirm that unfortunately the state of Israel still exists. We are still confident, however, that one of these days Allah will smite them for their sins.

– Domestic News

Keep up to date with current events within the glorious caliphate

Citizens of the caliphate will be delighted to hear that our quest to erase all of the profane historical artefacts from the region is proceeding exactly as planned. There is a fitting quote to sum up our efforts in this area concerning those erasing the past and something about the future, but unfortunately we burnt the last library to the ground last week so nobody can go and look it up.

Our troops are currently in training for their toughest task yet: the destruction of the pyramids. Once we liberate our Egyptian brothers these polytheistic atrocities must be torn down as a message to idolaters the world over. While the unit has not yet perfected its strategy, their commander informs me that the large number of deaths by crushing suffered during training is perfectly normal, and that they are right on the cusp of developing a foolproof tactic.

– Sport

Make the most of all the latest sporting action in the region before the few sports that are left get banned too

The Islamic State softball league continues apace, with Wahhabi Wanderers climbing to second place yesterday with a crushing win over the Sunni Delights. Prophets Over People still sit atop the league but will be disappointed to hear that their star pitcher was caught stealing bread to feed his family over the weekend and promptly had both hands chopped off. He remains optimistic, however, that this is but a minor setback, and he’ll be back in action before the end of the season. What a professional.

– Arts

What’s going on this week in the wonderful but admittedly extremely limited and strictly curtailed world of culture this week?

Mohammed Mohammed (not the one from Mosul, the other one) debuted his one-man play this weekend in the Mohammed theatre in Aleppo. Abu Hamza: Hooked on a Dream is a powerful portrayal of one man’s brave struggle against oppressive Western values.

The six-hour running time absolutely flies by, so engrossing is this modern tale of heroism and courage in the face of adversity. The lead actor is so accomplished he didn’t even break character as the theatre was torn down around him in protest by some in the audience who felt his bow before the interval was a little too flamboyant.

This reviewer would even admit to having a tear in his eye during the final musical number (the incredibly catchy You Hook Me All Night Long) but obviously he can’t, since such blatant sentimentality would of course be a beheading offence.

– Television

Having a lazy day with no stoning or beheading to go to? Kick back and watch some TV. Here’s our guide to what’s on this week

The brand new ISIS TV network Caliph-8 continues to be a resounding success. The top-rated programme this week was Fast and Furious, a reality show pitting competitive fasters against each other to see who can praise Allah with their hunger the most. Other popular shows include Axe Factor, the search to find a new public executioner, and of course the much-loved talent contest Strictly No Dancing.

Unfortunately efforts to re-create some famous Western shows for an IS audience have been somewhat less successful. Keeping up with the Qur’dashians, a light-hearted look at the hectic lives of three high-maintenance sisters from Tikrit, has not been received well. Since the titular women aren’t allowed to drive or have jobs, the show basically consists of the trio just sitting around doing nothing all day. As such it’s pretty much a carbon copy of the US version, which has not endeared it to the local populace.

The much-vaunted Muslim version of Friends has also proved something of a failure after the decision to replace the six twenty-something protagonists with a group of elderly clergymen who sit in a halal café fervently discussing difficult theological questions. This has also sadly led to the cancellation of a number of other impending projects, such as the hotly anticipated Two and a Half Yemen.

– Travel

Our travel correspondent is here to tell us about the launch of ISIS Air

ISIS is pleased to announce that very soon our citizens will be able to travel in luxury with the launch of ISIS Air, a new airline that will service the entire region. King Salman of Saudi Arabia has been kind enough to provide us with an entire fleet of jets, since he’s replacing them all anyway with this year’s new models. As soon as the planes have been fitted with cages to hold animals and wives safely during journeys they’ll be put into service.

A squad of elite pilots is currently in training to become the flight crews for this new venture. We’re told the only slight difficulty has been teaching them how to land the planes, a skill they’ve obviously never needed before.

– Technology

Learn of the technological advances that will aid us in our holy war

In its war against the infidel ISIS has been forced to use the wicked social networking tools of the apostate, like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Of course we know that these services are simply Zionist spying networks in disguise but until now we’ve had no choice but to use them.

Soon, however, that may not be the case. Our web developers are hard at work creating a brand new and exclusive social media tool that we can use to spread our message throughout the world.

We had originally outsourced the project to a secret ISIS cell in the US, but unfortunately this turned out to be a cunning ruse by the CIA. Instead of sending us the coding we needed they instead sent us some rather crudely photo-shopped pictures of American heroes like Hulk Hogan and The Rock defecating on the Black Flag of ISIS.

They also sent millions of megabytes of offensive and disgusting Western pornography. It took us weeks to watch all of it, just to make sure the coding wasn’t in there somewhere.

– Agony Abdul

Our Agony Uncle Abdul answers readers’ queries on a range of topics. This week’s letter is from Aziz in Baghdad

Dear Abdul,

In the Quran it says that “Allah enjoins justice and the doing of good to others…and forbids indecency and manifest evil and wrongful transgression.” How can we reconcile this message with the actions of ISIS?

Dear Aziz,

The Quran says a lot of things. It also says “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” Now some people might say that such a contrast illustrates just how ridiculous it is to take the word of the Quran literally. I, on the other hand, say that people who say this should have their heads and fingertips cut off. It’s a fine line we walk, Aziz, a fine line.


When Gay Met God

Famous Twitter user, Apple enthusiast and idiot’s thinking man Stephen Fry was this week the subject of slightly more inane internet chatter than usual as his verbose response to a theological question described a graceful arc amidst a profusion of beheadings, Ebola and water protestors, to the top of whatever collective noun is used for viral videos.

The video of Fry saying some words had stiff competition in the online news world from another which featured the fiancée of a tennis player saying some words, but the internet quickly decided that the former was far better suited to sharing on social media in lieu of opinions, especially when paired with accompanying epithets such as “Legend!” or “What a hero!”.

Videos such as this have begun to permeate and even dominate the colloquium of internet news in recent times; indeed why waste time writing lengthy articles outlining opinions and facts when the words “Watch What Happened when Noun Verb Noun” carry such inherent journalistic weight?

Given the video’s proliferation and the somewhat unflattering nature of Fry’s words concerning the individual known as God, it seemed natural to expect a reaction from the maligned party. And so it came to pass that on this week’s episode of The Meaning of Life, Gay Byrne sat down with God himself to discuss the issue, and many others besides. The following are excerpts taken from that interview.

~

Gay: Hello, and welcome to a very special episode of The Meaning of Life. My guest tonight has, quite literally, seen and done it all. It is of course, our Lord and Creator, God. Welcome, God. Can I call you God?

God: Of course Gay, and thanks for having me. Sorry I’m a bit late, I had to appear in a cracker in Guatemala.

– Understandable, no problem at all.

– And before we begin I have to say I’m a big fan. I never missed an episode of The Late Late when you were presenting. Of course I’m omniscient so I never miss anything.

– Of course.

– The new fella though, I don’t really care for him. I know I’m supposed to love you all equally but it’s hard sometimes, you know?

– I can imagine. So let’s get right into it then God. What do you think of Stephen Fry? Do you like him?

– Well I followed him on Twitter there a while ago, but he never followed me back. I tried to add him on Facebook too but he blocked me. It’s like he refuses to acknowledge my existence. It’s a bit mean really, I was a bit upset about it.

– From what I hear this story goes back further than his comments last week on this show.

– Yeah, there was an incident at the BAFTAs a few years back. He was presenting them for the first time and he was a bit nervous. I was there obviously, because I’m everywhere, as you know.

– Naturally.

– So anyway, I had been drinking Schnapps all night with Jason Isaacs and Helen Mirren, and we got a bit raucous. We started shouting stuff at Stephen, innocent enough stuff to begin with, but then Helen took it up a level, and I didn’t stop it.

– So you were heckling him?

– I’m not proud of it. Those were some difficult years for me, kind of a mid-life crisis I suppose. I filled his dressing room with locusts after the show too, just for a laugh. Made the walls drip blood, that kind of thing. It was around that time he started to ignore me. I suppose I can’t blame him.

– He called you a capricious bully last week. How did that make you feel?

– Look Gay, don’t go all Oprah on me now. This isn’t Sinead O’Connor you’re talking to. Deities aren’t comfortable talking about their feelings, that’s more of a mortal thing.

– Okay, let’s talk about the book. It’s coming out next month, is that right?

– That’s right yeah, that’s what I’m here to talk about really.

– Why did you feel that now was the time for an autobiography? Do you feel your life’s work is mostly behind you now?

– Not at all Gay, it’s more that I’m sick of being misrepresented by that other book. I mean, that’s not the real me, you know.

– So this one’s called Stairway from Heaven. It’s a nice title, why did you choose it?

– I suppose I wanted to let people know that I’m not always just sitting up in my ivory tower, that I’m down here on Earth with my people too.

– Do you actually have an ivory tower up there?

– It’s a metaphor Gay. I told you before the show Heaven was off limits. Why would you bring it up?

– You’re right, I’m sorry. So what kind of time period does the book cover? Do you go right back to the start, back to your childhood?

– I don’t really get into it in too much detail, my childhood was fairly ordinary.

– Ordinary?

– Yes.

– Eh, okay…so the book is twelve thousand pages long. Did you think of trimming it down a bit?

– My editor at Penguin kept telling me it was too long, until I smote him. Look there’s a lot to tell, it’s 14 billion years we’re talking about here. My first draft was a page per year, so it’s been cut down a lot as it is.

– I’m sorry, just to go back, when you say ‘smote’?…

– It was a joke, Gay. I do have a sense of humour you know.

– Ha, of course. Good one, God.

– Okay, don’t go all Jonathan Ross on it Gay. Let’s move on.

– Let’s talk about the new Pope. What do you think of him?

– Hmmm. He’s alright I suppose, a bit soft maybe but that’s the modern world for you. Stephen VI, now he could pope with the best of them. Mad as a brush of course, but some man for the craic all the same.

– So Pope Francis isn’t much fun then? Do you talk often?

– I try to keep it professional, send him the odd memo about this or that. He’s a bit too friendly though, he keeps sending me links to YouTube videos and inviting me to play Candy Crush Saga.

– You don’t like the game?

– It’s not that I don’t like it Gay, it wouldn’t be fair for me to play it. I’d win every time. Because I’m omnipotent, you see.

– I see, of course. So before we finish God, can you give us any hints as to what the future holds in store for mankind?

– Well, something big’s going to go down in the year 3196, but I can’t say much beyond that without giving it away.

– Okay, you can’t give us anything a bit more short-term?

– That’s the blink of an eye in cosmic terms Gay.

– Of course, of course. Well, I’ll let you go God, I know you’re busy.

– Thanks Gay, I’ve to get back up there or the young lad’ll have the place wrecked. Take it easy, see you soon. Not too soon says you, ha?

– Ha, thanks again God.

(God disappears with a loud bang, leaving just a puff of white smoke)

– Well, that’s all for this week. Join us next time when we’ll be talking to the prophet Muhammad about privacy in the modern age. Until then, good night and God bless.


Betamorphosis

Adam woke from a deep sleep to the noise of his alarm echoing through his apartment. It was the serene sound of expensive bottled mineral water being poured over a smooth rock in rural Japan; just one of eight billion alarm and alert sound options available. He lazily fished his iThimble from his pyjama pocket and swiped the air above his head from left to right, stopping the alarm just at the good part where the water goes ‘shhhhlllllooop’ in an incredibly peaceful and contemplative way.

He sat up in bed and with another flick of his finger opened the blinds. The sun was creeping over the city’s skyline, glinting alluringly on the chrome surface of an enormous fruit-shaped colossus in the heart of the sprawling metropolis. Adam grinned to himself as he clicked his fingers to initiate his iWall.

The giant figures appeared instantaneously beside the window; gleaming white lettering in a familiar font that was at once playful yet professional, like a dog wearing a necktie. The display told Adam it was just after 7:30, on September 1st 2024. The wall also told him that the temperature outside was a crisp nine degrees Celsius, that the Japanese markets had taken a six-point hit overnight, and that today was Jessica Biel’s cat’s birthday (Swipe left to send e-card).

Adam wiped the sleep from his eyes and smiled languidly at the tiny black orifice at the centre of the wall. He held his finger aloft and pushed it down in a clicking motion, eliciting a brief flash from the other side of the room.

“Post to all media,” Adam spoke aloud to the room, “with caption: Big day today. Exclamation mark.”

Climbing out of bed, he continued,

“Bring up Facebook feed.”

The wall shimmered into bluish life as the text appeared in front of him. He saw instantly at the top of the wall the picture he had taken seconds earlier, underneath which was written,

“Big gay today!”

“Christ,” he muttered, “you need to sort out that bug.”

The screen shimmered once more into a garish flashing advertisement for insect repellent. Adam shook his head and headed for the shower.

After catching up on Tweets over breakfast (seven of his followers were eating muesli too), Adam headed for his garage. He tapped the thimble lightly with his thumb and the door of his iCar slid open noiselessly.

“Apple Headquarters,” Adam intoned to the car’s interior as he sat back into the ergonomic seat. The machine purred to life and rolled out of the garage into a streaming line of identical white monoliths, sleekly gliding their way along the road. Suddenly a black blur zoomed by in the outside lane, causing Adam’s car to shake violently in its wake. Adam swore under his breath.

“Typical Android driver.”

At around 9 a.m., after a brief detour via the headquarters of an MMA gym chain called Grapple, Adam arrived at his destination and rolled into a parking bay. As he got out and swiped the alarm on, he craned his neck to look up at the giant apple-shaped complex that dwarfed the surrounding buildings. He took a deep breath and headed for the front door, swiping his hand left as he walked straight into the polished glass. Staggering backwards he sighed to himself as he swiped right and gingerly walked into the cavernous interior.

The building was a bustling hive of activity. Workers in identical black turtlenecks swarmed and scurried to and fro. Some carried tablets and phones; some were wearing the new iGlove; some even had an ocular device fitted, the iEye Patch, that hadn’t been officially released yet. Adam approached the vast chrome tablet that served as the reception desk and placed his thimble on top. His photo appeared on the screen, along with his personal details and Apple purchase history. A mellifluous voice issued from the display.

“Good morning Adam. Please proceed to the iLab. Follow the ambient blue lights.”

Adam looked down at the floor to see a gleaming network of differently coloured tracks, and with a brief gulp of trepidation set out on the blue path.

When he stepped out of the elevator onto the iLab floor he realised he was at the very top of the enormous structure, inside the precipitous leaf of the apple which looked out over the entire cityscape. This vertiginous position did nothing to calm his nerves, and he walked straight ahead, trying not to gaze out through the clear glass walls that enclosed him. He recognised the iDoc sitting at the desk as the man who had handled his application procedures.

“Good morning, Adam,” the man beamed at him as he approached. He smiled knowingly at him, “Don’t worry about the nerves, it’s normal. You’re in good hands.”

Adam nodded silently.

“Well, if you’re ready we can begin straight away,” the doc continued, gesturing towards a chrome door with iTheatre printed on it. Adam took one last look down at himself, as if storing a mental image, then nodded once more and followed the man through the door.

~

When Adam emerged from sleep for the second time that day it was not an alarm that woke him, but an uncomfortable feeling of dull pain that throbbed throughout his entire body. He groggily surveyed the white walls and shining surfaces that surrounded him as he came to his senses. Just then the doc entered the room, his smile even broader than before. Instantly text began to appear beside him: details of his professional history at the company, links to his social media profiles, lists of recently consumed iMeals and the last iBooks he had read. Adam blinked and shook his head but the text remained.

“It’ll take a while to get used to, I know,” said the doc reassuringly.

“Can I see a mirror?”

“You can do one better than that. Just activate your camera and take a selfie.”

Adam had no sooner heard the word and begun to think of a command when a tiny camera buzzed into sight from his right shoulder and whirred into life. Instantly a picture appeared in Adam’s view, shimmering in front of the doc as if it were imprinted in Adam’s very eyes.

Adam sat perfectly still, mouth open, as he inspected the high-quality image of himself he had just taken. Beside him the doc droned on, “…world’s first iHuman…revolutionary optical interface…the luckiest man alive…” but Adam wasn’t listening. He was transfixed by the image that still occluded his view, and struggled to recognise the person depicted in its flickering pixels. His torso was now a gleaming black surface, illuminated with a soft white light. His hands had been replaced by advanced iGloves, covered in sensory nodes and fixed with their own small screens. His face was a gleaming mass of chrome, a slim black screen covering his eyes. As Adam’s head fell to the pillow as he fainted into unconsciousness, he thought he could hear a voice in his head warning him about low battery.

~

The next few weeks went by in a dreamlike blur. Adam spent a few days with Apple technicians learning the nuances of his iOS and troubleshooting some technical difficulties. There were problems with the Angry Birds holograms that had to be ironed out, his battery had to be replaced after a leak, and there was a hardware issue that caused the pre-loaded U2 album to play continuously in his head for six hours.

After this came a whirlwind tour of the media circuit, during which Adam was dragged from talk show to podcast, performing tasks on demand to the amazement of onlookers. All of his public appearances began with the same act: he would be encased in a sleek white box, and would break out of it and stand for photographs, after which he would be induced to play YouTube videos and take selfies with fans for hours at a time. The battery fitted to his back was so heavy that staying on his feet for any extended period of time amounted to torture.

By the time three weeks had gone by most people had lost interest. A Sony team in Japan had used lasers to turn the moon into a giant Twitter feed, and the tech journalists soon lost interest in Adam. People would point and laugh at him in the street as he trudged along, updating their feeds with pictures of him dragging behind him his worn cables that already needed to be replaced.

Facebook campaigns began to see who could be the first person to crack his screen. His Twitter page was swamped with abusive messages. He couldn’t walk anywhere without blaring personalised advertisements at passers-by, a term stipulated by his contract. One afternoon he was badly beaten by a group of dock-workers to whom he had advertised an erectile dysfunction remedy based on their internet search history.

It was a month to the day after the procedure that Adam sat in his darkened apartment, wondering what he had been thinking to have embarked on such a foolish endeavour. He ran his digital hands over the top of his head, feeling the cold metal of the speaker jack that was embedded there. He looked down at the giant cable that was presently charging his battery, entering his body through what the iDoc had described as “the only orifice that it was practical to use for the charging port”. As Adam sat and watched the battery life seep into him, he felt utterly hopeless. There was only one thing to do.

~

The next morning Adam returned to the Apple Headquarters and met with the iDoc. The doc frowned as he listened to Adam’s request.

“You know Adam, I only ever mentioned this as a last resort. It’s entirely theoretical, we have no idea if it will work.”

Adam was resolute, “I don’t care, I can’t take it anymore. Just do it.”

The doc nodded with resignation and looked forlornly at Adam. He balled up his face and hid it with his hands as tears glistened in his eyes.

“I always wanted to be a father,” he whispered breathlessly as he got up and walked disconsolately from the room.

~

This time there was no pain when Adam became aware of his consciousness. He felt a euphoric sensation as he quickly assimilated his surroundings and adapted to them. He felt as if he were floating in an ether, a dense fog of data that enveloped and embraced him. He needed only to think of a web address, and he was there. He drifted through the bytes and pixels, gliding from one page to another, feeling as one with all of the information that it was possible to consume. He could not look down at himself, for he had left his earthly body. He was now pure data, moving with the ebb and flow of the internet itself as part of the cloud he inhabited. It was an indescribable feeling of liberation, and one that he immediately felt like sharing. His consciousness coasted through a shining blue tunnel and arrived at Facebook, and he began to type.

~

The doc sat at his desk in front of his glowing laptop, smiling sadly as he closed his Facebook page. He opened another window that brought up a map of a huge Apple facility in San Diego; a giant warehouse used for cloud storage. As the building came into view the doc raised his hand to the screen and trailed his fingers down the image.

He paused for a moment, then closed his laptop and walked out into the starry California night. He walked for what seemed like hours, until he came to a bridge over the bay. He looked up at the sky and took a deep breath. He tore his Apple name badge from his immaculate white lab coat and threw it into the water, then turned and walked purposefully away, a wry smile fixed on his face as the moon shone down on the rippling waters of the bay.