Monday, 27 February 2012

The night watchman


The hum from the cooling system echoed throughout the building a constant –50c had to be maintained at all cost.

Earnest leaned across the table to check the time on his old clock .

Less than an hour of his shift left .

A wee look of worry etched across his face that in an hour he would be finished at warehouse No10

Thinking back to when he had first started at the job when he was 20 , he could never have imagined that at 90 he would still be there . over the 70 years huge changes had happened within the building least of all its sheer size . from a single unit it had expanded to cover upwards of 60 football fields and this was only one of many warehouses dotted across the globe .

Retirement in less than an hour …..

He had never really got used to the fact that he was the only one in this huge building , long ago all the others had been replaced by robots of all sizes and shapes , every thing run by computers meant that the building seemed alive but had no soul.

A sudden clatter announced another order coming in for some spare part or other ,Fired all the robots up to fill it .

from all the corners of the warehouse they seemed to come alive and rushed to fill the parts order in the quickest time possible .

Like some long ago ballet they gracefully filled the trays and when the order was complete and on the outward conveyor belt, everything shut doon and the silence returned to the huge warehouse

The only noise the clatter of the air conditioner .

A quick glance at the clock and he could see that he had less than 40mins left , just then a report on the radio stated

* A couple had been found trying to bury their loved one in a grave in the woods north of London “

Since 2015 it had been illegal to bury or dispose of bodies in any way other than them being taken of to be recycled .

From the radio ,screams as the couple where taken from the van to the inside of the police station.

people were screaming “selfish bastards “, “who do you think you are” , “scum” the noise just got louder and louder until the couple were taken through the door . only then did the crowd settle down.

Earnest turned to the radio to turn if off , Knowing what was coming he had heard it many times in his life , The Couple would be inside and being charged and within the hour they would be taken outside and shot , their bodies sent of to be recycled ….

He was glad that at 90 he would be able to head to the Scottish highlands and the wee cottage he had bought , a quieter life away from the constant noise and worse of the modern way of life

He got up from his desk and headed of on his final walk around the warehouse . the bunch of keys clipped to his belt his cap placed firmly on his head he set off.

At the far end of the warehouse was the parts delivery hall , a place he had long ago refused to enter , walking passed the door he heard the whir of the machines ..

Earnest got back to his desk at a little passed . he picked up his box will all his stuff and turned to the door and the clocking off machine .

Running the piece of plastic across the screen a voice said “ WELL DONE EARNEST TODAY IS YOUR LAST DAY “ and happily announced “ ENJOY YOUR RETIREMENT “.

Before the last word had been said EARNEST clutched his heart and fell down, close to death the plastic time card fell from his hand and lay on the floor ..

His last thought one of regret that he couldn’t afford one of the parts here and instead had to go to the “ WE BUY ANY BODY STORE” but at the time that was all he could afford and the heart had come with a 60 year warranty since then of course the company and closed .

From the far end of the warehouse he watched as a machine glided its way towards him

With a beep, beep as it reversed

an arm reached out and gathered him, placing his dead body on the platform . the warning sirens shut of as it headed hurriedly back to the parts delivery hall.

When news reached the company that Earnest had died , a few clicks on a screen and his job was filled by the DXS2 a new robot from CHINA

The guy at the screen turned to his boss and said “ at last the human body parts recycling warehouse could be fully automated now * ( The future is bright the future is WSABP)

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Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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