Rewind to Wednesday 29th July. I’d been planning to look out for my Windows 10 operating system upgrade to install. I don’t ever so like Windows 8 and so haven’t used my new laptop much since buying it about a month ago. It was bought on impulse in the hope of increasing my efficiency / productivity by enabling computer use during illness and essential rest. Hmmm, so much for that.
As with most days since first setting up the new laptop , I didn’t even open the laptop to switch it on. Mixt-ape was restless and fidgety and egging me on to get my upgrade installed but I refused, too exhausted. I read a few blogs on my mobile phone, light and easy to hold while resting, brightness set to minimum for eye comfort. I discovered the Literary Lion challenge and roughed an idea in mind for a story prompted by ‘Time’, a coincidence with Monday’s chosen track for this week’s Mixt-ape’n’playlist post being ‘Time After Time’ and thus destined to take part, so I’d thought. By the time I’d read the first few entries already posted for that TIME challenge I had run out of energy and desperately needed sleep. So sleep I did.
It’s past the close for Literary Lion’s TIME challenge, but below, for my challenge practice run, is something like the story I would have submitted, had I been in time(!)
I started at the abrupt clanging of a bell and a woman’s voice loudly announcing, “TIME ladies and gentlemen please!”
I hadn’t been aware prior to that moment of either my eyes having been closed before they were open, nor of my surroundings and was surprised to find myself sitting in a bar. I was even more surprised to find myself looking across a table at Mixt-ape sitting opposite me drinking what appeared to be a pint of Guiness.
“Ah, good, you’ve come round at last” he said. “Just in time too. I bought you a drink – best be quick, it’s nearly time to leave.”
I looked suspiciously at the hi-ball glass, then back at Mixt-ape.
“You’re not real!” I protested. “How did you manage to buy me a drink?! How did I get here? Why on earth am I wearing red stilettoes? I’ve not even owned stilettoes since I was twenty!”
“Whoa, slow down!” Mixt-ape replied, “there isn’t time to explain everything, I ordered our ride home too, it’ll be here in a few minutes. Drink up! Bar lady’s recommendation that beverage. She said you looked like you needed some spirit, she suggested a double, whatever that is and a tonic to go with.”
“I hope it’s a vodk…Ughh! gin!” I carried on drinking it anyway, trying to remember my manners. “Thanks. But how did you manage to get us here and however did you pay for drinks?.” I shuddered and gasped, “Please NOT my emergency change jar!”
Mixt-ape looked shocked and genuinely offended. He sloshed back the last swig of Guiness and leaning forward to place his empty pint glass on the table whispered,
“I photocopied some of your art money drawings and brought those with me, after setting art money as acceptable tender in the simulation paramaters. So don’t worry, hasn’t cost you a penny!”
Although his answers seemed sensible enough, I was thoroughly puzzled. I wondered I must be having another nervous breakdown, must have lost all sense of reality. In a bar with an over-sized soft toy, somehow animated, conversational and with purchasing power HOW? As if reading my mind, Mixt-ape continued to explain while I forced myself to finish my drink.
“You clearly need more help,” he began, ” so I borrowed your launchpad* and sorted your upgrade for you. MICROSOTT** W’ndoze Tenacious E-spacious all fully installed and working a treat apparently. Few glitches to maybe smooth out along the way perhaps… but these virtual environments have a lot of potential. I think you’ll benefit from the immersive experience – but you will need my help.”
I’d only just finished my drink as a female hand reached across and whisked away the empty glass. Her rings could have doubled for knuckledusters and her copper bracelet inscribed with the word TIME as it flashed before my eyes suggested it really was time to leave without her needing to say a word.
(just over 500 words – not quite the full story I had in mind, perhaps some editing and re-working another day… also just realised the word limit is 400 words or less, not 500! doh!)
* launchpad is what Mixt-ape calls my new laptop(!)
** MICROSOTT apparently, according to Mixt-ape, is the software manufacturer of my new launchpad. I can’t remember what the acronym stands for at the moment, but i will…
I still haven’t yet found nor installed my Windows10 upgrade, but am in no real hurry…
This week’s current Literary Lion challenge can be found here