Despite Michael feeling particularly proud of the website he was developing, it was nearly five and he was ready to go home. His workmates continued to tap away at their keyboards, staring intently at the screens in front of them. It’s likely they were faking at this point or doing it just to annoy him. There would be a mass exodus once the manager leaves. Bingo.
He closed the open browser tab called “view source.” Outside the world was a busier place. You could hear the sounds of birds and babies. People chatting about the weather, their boyfriends, the friend they wanted to talk about behind her back. Life was full of variety and everyone was on their way to do something.
Michael ran past the mother with three kids and almost tripped on the teenager with a rustic skateboard. “Sorry” he heard himself say, almost automatically without thinking. He checked his watch again. It was almost 5:30pm and he did not have time to be late again for his girlfriend who was likely waiting by now at the resturant down the road.
He stopped frozen at the intersection of Princes and Police street. His mind was racing though he couldn’t move. Everything else had slowed around him. Not completely frozen, yet moving in slow motion. Something was seriously wrong with me he thought to himself. He wanted to yell for help and he could feel his lips begin to move, his jaw and breath. His yell for help had stalled. Every process was in motion, though moving extremely slowly or not at all.
His heart was pounding slowly in his chest. If the world was a website, it had just crashed. He began to panic. “Don’t freak out mate, this happens all the time.” The slurred words came from a homeless man he hadn’t noticed before. “Excuse me, I don’t know whats happening” he replied regaining movement and speech momentarily. The man took a drink from a brown bottle in a paper bag and then spoke. “You need to view the source.” He handed Michael a filthy brown overcoat and a bottle of no good. “Drink this, take off your clothes and wear this jacket.”
No cars we’re moving and birds were suspended above their heads. It may have been a few minutes or a few hours, it was impossible to know. Occasionally things would begin to move again with some normality. Any freedom didn’t last for long and soon Michael was trapped again, completely conscious and aware of the unnatural movements of this time and space.
He must have drank from the bottle. It was empty. The homeless man was gone. He was naked. Wait no, he was wearing the brown overcoat. He could already feel itchy. Something was having a feast. He felt different. Lighter. His movements seemed separated from the world around him. For a moment he took pleasure in disobeying the laws of physics. He knew it was wrong. He couldn’t resist the temptation and opened the coat to reveal all of his glory.
The buildings, the birds, the cars, people, roads, anything and everything was gone. Well not completely gone because in their place was source code. Just like a website, he could see instructions for everything. How the bird would travel past him and the movement of its wings. The colour of the sky and the position of the clouds. Everything was described in incredible detail. It was overwhelming yet comforting, all at the same time. He wasn’t afraid any more. He could see how things worked.
The code was beautiful in most part except for the rustic skateboard. This was incredibly inefficient. So much so that the entire system wasn’t coping. This code was a drain and a burden. He wondered if he could delete it. He decided to delete it. He felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. He knew everything would be ok.
The blurry bars looked just like a jail cell. He blinked a few times and made sure he was awake. “Hello, is anyone there.” A policewoman appears from down the hall and began to speak “We are pleased to meet you Michael, we have been looking for you for quite some time.” Michael sat up, wearing an orange jumpsuit. “Where am I. What am I doing here?” “Your under arrest for indecent exposure Michael” she spoke with a degree of disgust.
He covered his face with his hands then calmly lifted his head. “Ok, can I have my jacket back please?”