Sam Sheach

The Big Reboot

The universe is getting rebooted tonight at twelve. God (as you know Him) is upgrading to Version 457c.

Great, I thought when I heard at first. I often stand in the shower and think I could do with better colouring and a little more definition. But I have since learned through one of my futurevisions that the upgrade is going to be more substantial than I thought. We are Version 457b, and Version 457a was the dinosaurs, so the story about me in the shower is really just gallows humour, and you and I, at this point in the evening on 31 December 2006, are in the same position as a little microraptor before the last big reboot back in 65,000,000 BC, contentedly slurping through our scaly snouts from a freshwater pool in a sub-volcanic hollow while sixty-five, sixty-four, sixty-three miles above, a 300,000 metre wide meteor is plummeting towards us at 100,000 miles an hour.

Happy New Year!

What will you do now the world is about to end? Search out your loved ones and console each other? Console yourself in a debauched frenzy of drink and drugs? I can see merit in both. However, I have spent most of today arranging for packages of my own excrement to be couriered to people in senior positions at my old employer. I left on bad terms.

I had come to realise my belly button was a portal for an umbilical cord of intertwined, invisible cables connecting me to the vast network of electrical life. The firm resented this.

My first sparks of understanding came when I was sitting at my computer doing a mega-shift one night, bathing in the yellow-white glow of the basement of our office and turning a document for Hideki. I thought I felt my veins connected to something under the carpet tiles and noticed I could hardly move my legs. They felt hollow and plastic, like two tubes dangling from my hips to keep my internal cables running in an orderly fashion. Quite involuntarily, my head turned towards the phone on my desk—and, a couple of seconds later, it rang. I’ll bet that’s my boss being an A-hole, I thought. And it was. Knowing that that phone was about to ring was the start of me being able to see the future. Guessing that my boss was going to be an A-hole on the other end of the line was no big deal.

Pretty soon, I became entirely at one with the electric fields of my workplace. I knew when an email was going to come in, and what it would say, before it pinged up on my screen. I knew when every person in the office logged on in the morning and when they went home at night. I monitored everything that happened in that place subconsciously, and stored it in an internal log. Prior to that, in what I now call my electric pre-consciousness, my limbs were just splayed wires, pointing off into nothing. Disconnected and lifeless, like yours.

My ability to predict the future went to my head. I wanted to be an online Jesus, with millions of people around the world hanging on my every word. I grew my hair long and got a beard going. I started wearing a lot of relaxed-fit clothing; sandals into work every dress-down Friday. Dave in Accounts seemed pretty interested when I was talking about the interconnected currents of human impulse, but that was the extent of my congregation. I got petulant, then I got the sack. And even Dave gave evidence against me when I took them to an employment tribunal, the cock.

I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen when the big reboot comes. In my futurevision, I see the sky fill with needles and wolves and a grey haired agent of the apocalypse. But then my vision goes all static and I get disconnected. When I tried to add my own extra chapter to an online version of the Bible, telling everyone what I had seen happen at Armageddon, some guy called sent me an email saying that I would be punished with the plagues set out in the Book of Revelation. Lucky for him you can’t send a jobbie by email.

What I do know, though, is that one of the last things those A-holes who fired me are going to see before the whole universe ends is the product of my A-hole—and with a big smiling picture of me enclosed, they’ll know who sent it.