Tuesday, 6 May 2014

(12) The Full Taffanaut

It is not really relevant which company I work for. I am a programmer and I sit all day in an office re-arranging 1's and 0's trying to hack together solutions to problems while awake, asleep or somewhere in-between. In some ways it is like most other jobs. Someone takes credit for the work I do unless I make a mistake which sometimes happens if my mind drifts off to escape my self-inflicted suicide beige painted cell. At least it pays the bills, almost. 

Once born into this world dressed in hope, dreams and ambition, now with more past than future I am bored of the futility of existence. There is a window on the other side of the office and through that window there are some trees with birds in. They hop from branch to branch and tweet to each other. Stupid birds. They cannot appreciate the higher levels of excitement and delight in this world like shiny mobile phones, flat screen TVs or matching luggage sets. There is so much beauty and wonder to see but we blind ourselves with trivial things. I hate it all but there must be more to hate than this.

Everyone in the office was invited to attend a meeting. The birds were not invited. I already knew that bad news was coming but I wasn't prepared for how bad. There were going to be redundancies and more people would be going than would be staying. Was this part of the game? was this the equal and opposing force that I had been expecting that would deny me from being able to pledge 20% of the ticket price? Was I the indirect cause of this mass cull? Why had the birds got off scot free? Then somewhere inside my mind a connection was made. I have what I can only describe as some kind of augmented Tourette's syndrome which has a nasty habit of presenting me with inappropriate thoughts. A song started to play in my head.

Sittin' here eatin' my heart out waitin'
Waitin' for some lover to call
Dialed about a thousand numbers lately
Almost rang the phone off the wall

Lookin' for some hot stuff baby this evenin'
I need some hot stuff baby tonight
I want some hot stuff baby this evenin'

The Full Monty signing on scene had popped into my head. I looked around the room and imagined a room full of programmers gyrating and thrusting their hips in time to the music. Not a pretty sight.

Gotta have some hot stuff
Gotta have some love tonight
I need hot stuff
I want some hot stuff

I bit my lip and looked down just as an imaginary red leather thong slid across the boardroom table in front of me, still warm, exhaling as it slumped into a post nuptial exhausted heap.

Was possible redundancy good news or bad news?
I had contacted my favoured commercial sponsor who initially seemed interested and implied that they were considering my proposal but I hadn't heard anything since and realization was slowly setting in that they weren't going to get back in touch. It was too easy to ignore me. I was already considering "going large" in order to get press coverage. Surely the press would love a Full Monty type story about some mad Welsh guy being made redundant and pledging all his redundancy money on a ticket to space. Sponsors would be unable to ignore me. The idea went round and round in my head for days together with the song but in the end I decided that I couldn't go through with it. It would not have been right for me to exploit the situation when people were losing their jobs.

There was a month of redundancy consultations and everyone had a pretty good idea about who would be staying or going by the time they were called into their individual meetings. I bit my lip in my meeting as I was told that I was staying and tried not to think of a piston fisted gibbon, chocolate fudge dragon or salad cream.

It was a relief when the redundancies were over because I had not really been able to focus on anything let alone Taffanaut. I needed to clear my head and get The Taffanaut Chronicles up to date before starting on the final push so one evening I took advantage of the empty house and sat down, booted up my laptop/tray and started getting outside a reheated a left over curry as quick as I could. My aggressive psychotic immune system had other ideas. By the time I suspected that I might be starting to suffer from anaphylactic shock it was too late. Less than a minute later I was face down over the arm of the sofa sweating, shaking, gasping for breath with my heart slowing. I struggled to remain conscious and with my sight failing I watched my hands turn red and start to blister. Getting to the phone or trying to get help was pointless and impossible. I didn't have the ability and I certainly didn't have the time. My brain was quickly calculating and narrowing down all my options and possible outcomes and I was now just a passenger waiting to choose one of the options. There was no emotion, no flashback of life, no tunnel with a light at the end. Somewhere inside there was a disturbingly cold calculating inhuman machine that had no real concern for me but just wanted to survive at all costs. The analysis was completed and there were two options:-

Option 1 : Do not black out, ride it out and then get help.

Option 2 : Probably die

I clenched my muscles fighter pilot style to try and keep conscious. Just before Easter 2014 as the moon turned red during the first of the four Blood Moon lunar eclipses a war raged inside me. Each heartbeat rhythmically exploded into my head with an eye popping psychedelic thud thud thud beat.

Seemingly there is no reason for these extraordinary intergalactic upsets
Taff a-ah
Saviour of the Universe
Taff a-ah
He'll save every one of us
Taff a-ah
He's a miracle
Do not dispatch war rocket Ajax to bring back his body lovely boy. 
Taffanauts alive! 

Eventually I had enough energy to get to call for help and Nicci drove me to the local A&E department where the staff made sure a bad day didn't get any worse. I was glad that the futility of existence for the one outweighed the nonexistence of the many.

It was too close for comfort and a bit of a wakeup call. I needed to start on the final push before some other correcting force stopped me from deviating from my predefined corridor of possibilities. The birds were still in the tree outside work hopping from branch to branch. Stupid birds. They would never be able to comprehend the full genius/insanity of the plan that had been fermenting in my head. All the options had been analysed and each possible outcome had been simulated. The analysis was complete and there was only one option which could succeed.
It was time.