The Inventor

(Or Ode on Dan)

My morning proceeded smoothly. I documented four steps of a hotel-booking procedure, and verified my scheduled tasks to confirm that I was on time. Stretching my arms out in front of me, and turning my hands palms outward with the fingers interlocked, I decided it was a good time to break for lunch.

As a home-based technical writing contractor, I could manage my own schedule, performing tasks when I wanted to do them, but also leaving myself time for personal activities if I knew that I could finish my work on time. Thus I took my dependable Buick and proceeded over to Micky-D's Drive-Thru for a quick, nutritionally-complete meal.

I carried my lunch back with me in a paper bag placed on the passenger seat, only reaching in for a couple of fries at a stop-light. I liked to savour my Filet-O-Fish, and thus waited until I got home to enjoy it on the picnic table I had installed on the verandah.

"How's the procedure comin'?" greeted my neighbour over the hedge he was trimming between our driveways.

"Oh not bad, thanks Doctor," I replied. I was still fairly formal with him, having myself only bought my house the day before. "I've only got three steps to communicate technically this afternoon."

"Don't bother with the Doctor-Schmoctor," he declared with a good-natured grimace. "Frank's the name."

The trouble was, after this lengthy exchange which cost me almost forty-five minutes, my lunch had grown quite cold. I thus popped it in the microwave, hit the two, then hit delete, then hit the five, hesitated, then hit delete again, then hit the two again, then hit the three twice, then hit Start. Nothing happened.

"What the hell?" I thought. "Looks like my microwave's off-line." Shaking my head at the unreliability of modern technology, I walked back out with my paper bag in hand.

"Hey Doc... uh, Frank?", I called.

"What's up neighbour?" he inquired.

"Would you mind if I borrowed your microwave a sec? Looks like mine's tanked."

"Sure no problem," he answered. "That unreliable modern technology, huh?" He grinned.

"That's exactly what I was just thinking!!" I concurred.

"I've got just the thing. Come follow me."

I followed him down into the basement of his house through miles of dank corridors where bones stuck out from the walls and pools of dark liquid coalgulated in the crumbling mortar. Although the walk was quite flat, the doctor was breathing heavily as with exertion. I started thinking about my procedure, and the fact that, if I wrote only the name of the hotel in step six, as I had been planning, the resulting instruction would be ambiguous, and might force me to add a step: something I definitely wanted to avoid considering the principles of Information Mapping. I got a bit nervous about having to break up my procedure into two, thus doubling the amount of my work, and was just starting to consider how I could invent two titles for the procedures when we reached our destination.

It was then that I realised that the situation had grown somewhat creepy. The doctor's voice, in tune with the darkening surroundings, had also taken on a raspier and throaty character, like bile was rising from the organs of his that produce bile, and his excited glottis was having trouble keeping it down.

"Here's my microwave," he announced, fixing me with an expectant yet somehow fearful stare. "Put your meat inside." He was indicating a scratched black metal case, indeed about the size of a microwave, although which didn't seem to have any latches, panels, nor controls.

"How is this supposed to work?" I thought to myself, but was too shy to utter my discomfort in front of what was obviously a source of pride to the professor (doctors are automatically professors. I just changed the noun scope for variety) and approached the apparatus, holding out my meat.

The bag somehow entered into the obscure recesses of the case, in a way that the shadows did not permit me to discern, while the heavy breathing of my neighbour increased behind me in both frequency and intensity.

"How do I turn it on?" I ventured to ask, and immediately regretted it.

"IT IS ON YOU DAMNED FOOL!!" burst the scientist, his eyes rolling and flashing their maddened whites in the darkness. He seemed to be ready to tear off my limbs and throw them in with the filet, and I recoiled from his advance, then felt somewhat ashamed of myself. He wasn't approaching me but coming towards his machine.

He also made a quick but strained effort to calm himself, seemingly embarassed by his own outburst. Then, in nine sentences, he recounted to me the story of his inventions and how much better they worked than ordinary machines, iterating a list of the devices he used to perform chores around the house, and expounding their advantages over modern technology in a rhetoric so sound that I felt nothing but admiration for him and his discoveries by the time my sandwich emerged at the ideal temperature from the microwave.

The strange thing was that I had not seen my lunch come out. The medic had fetched it himself for me, but I had had the impression that although I had put it in the front, it had come out the rear?????????

In any case, well-nourished by my piping-hot lunch back on my verandah, and refreshed by an icy Coke with which I had washed it all down, I felt excited to be back at work on my procedure, feeling that I could split it into any number of max-seven-step procedures and no amount of making up titles would stop me from the perfect clarity that it was my specialty to technically communicate.

But then I took another break and borrowed my hedge-sharer's garden hose, and I was watering my flowers with a remarkably efficient stream of nourishing liquid, when something happened that was so terrible that it destroyed all hope of me ever regaining enough concentration to finish my procedure again.

I was holding the hose and marvelling at its efficiency and reliability when I noticed that the stream had begun rapidly diminishing, finally ending in no more than a trickle of small drops. I shook it and shook it, trying to get it to spray more, but only a few glistening drops of thick liquid emerged. I turned it towards my face so that I could peer inside the hose and see if I could see what was inside it. I then glanced at the sidewalk.

Passing by my house was a sexually attractive woman wearing clothes that emphasised the advantageous portions of her figure. Taking little interest in her, I recommenced shaking the hose and rubbing it up and down, essentially thinking that some thick substance might have clogged up the inside, and that if I could bring my hand up in a squeezing motion from the bottom to the tip, I might succeed in dislodging the impeding obstacle. I did this multiple times, when I suddenly understood what I was holding.

I stood agape. The image of the microwave came to me, and the way its obscured face had seemed to split horizontally to accept my offering, then way it seemed to bulge and squirm before returning the contents from its behind, the way my lunch smelled slightly of fart after the researcher had handed it back to me. It was a giant black mouth, attached to a giant black bum, breathing on my food to heat it up, and pooing it out the back.

The doc wasn't building machines out of technology at all. In fact, I could see why he completely distrusted all forms of technology. He was recycling human parts from his failed surgeries performed during his brilliant but stained career, and turning them into machines for household chores!

My mouth opened wide as my fist continued its hypnotised, rhythmic motion on the garden hose. Nothing would ever enable me to finish technically communicating the task that my procedure intended to transmit to my target audience, ever. Nothing.

O man! It's been so long since I waltzed to the tune of Rotica Online (ROL). What an inventive story! Wonderful!
(1) comments
Really my point was that your own story was so awesome that to this day I am so gushing with excitement for it that I can't help spilling the whole thing out again. (In ReM1x f0rMat.)
Wow, you're a sweetie. :)
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