Being an eighteen year old delinquent (of sorts), I do not manage to stay at all up to date with global ongoings, or even current events from my own country. I probably should, but never mind. I seem able to trudge through the days just like everyone else, except without knowing the ins and outs of the latest horrific disaster that has happened here or there.
However, when one of those dreary, eventless evenings arrives, the news somehow manages to find me… Infrequent though they may be, my sporadic toe-dippings into the world of international news tend to leave me feeling nothing short of futile – the news makes me feel like a sitting duck, awaiting the fatal crush from the gargantuan, omniscient foot of terrorists; missiles, pirates, vulcans and smarmy news anchors alike.
Last night I realised why I have so skilfully avoided the news for such a time. It must have been my first fall into the depths of the 10 o’clock news for a good couple of months.
A programme finished, and the news followed seamlessly. The BBC news… Even the introductory music is reminiscent of a ticking time bomb.
I didn’t even consider what was to come when the plain faced newsreader appeared in shot. I did not foresee the horrors she would impart. Her sim-like appearance lulled me in: an almost prosthetic shoulder length bob, two eyes glazed over, detached and spectacled… An automatic demeanour, I expected nothing at all sinister… Half expecting an assistant to hurry on any moment and replace her batteries before the next sentence, I was quite looking forward to the remotely controlled demonstration of her playing ping-pong, or traversing an elementary rock climbing wall… Was this it? Had I tuned into the launch of NewsReader-3000? The autobot we had all been waiting for!
Apparently not. This lady was not quite a robot, although could’ve quite easily passed for one.
All of a sudden, her cut throat utterances became all too real. Her auto tuned articulations modulated from welcoming pleasantries, to some explicit dissonances – the denouncement of scores of deaths, irreparable decays and heartless threats. All of this in her succinct headlining of the woes of our planet at the beginning of the programme, executed though I must say, with flawless objectivity.
The perfect cadence to her harrying diction of course, would have to be a story which entailed the desires of certain Somalian extremists targeting me personally for a pre-meditated attack. NewsReader-3000 detailed that these terror-mongers had become utterly fed up of me, thirsty for my blood and guts and brains. According to some reports, these folk wished sincerely to see my life terminated in an emphatic, explosive crescendo.
My heart plunged into the fears of my stomach. I quivered at the thought of such rogues. I could see them – plotting, mapping, huddled in mobs about the architectural blueprints of my home, calculating the best spot to plant the explosives. Why had they become so set on my demise? Interspersed with footage of my adversaries launching missiles from shoulder set contraptions; emptying cartridges brimming with bullets onto rows of targets of my face, and marching in droves to the rhythm of my downfall, NewsReader-3000 revealed that the lawless Somalians had recruited hoards of British to join their cause. This news hit me really very hard. Never, did I ever sense such mutiny on the horizon! Such insurrectionary bastards! These napkin-faced opponents were sure to be my former friends, colleagues, casual associates…all with the absolute desire to see me in colander form; riddled with bullets, with dismembered limbs, the lot of me, in several pieces-!
Despite my fears, I realised I had at least a warning of the coming of these brutes. I should’ve realised, what with it being almost the end of February…The Newsreader-3000 had become a soothsayer, it wished to warn me…Beware the Ides of March! For it is soon… I do not recall befriending a Cassius, though. What had I done to you, O, 21st Century Somali-Cassius?
After seeking advice from the Ministry of Defence, with enquiries as to where the closest possible underground bunker facility was located (to ensure the safe keeping of my new girlfriend Calpurnia and myself, from the conspirators), I was dismissed in a plume of ridicule.
No Octavius. Mark Antony? Apparently I was around two thousand years late. Not even an underground bunker to save me!
The army-types guffawed in my general direction, for a good five minutes, before the tittering receded, and an officer suggested that I may have taken this news a little too personally. Apparently these extremists had a resentment for the folk of our not-so-green, urban isle in its entirety.
What a relief! Apparently I was no longer Caesar incarnate.
In actual fact, NewsReader-3000 had bizarrely announced that in recent months, the UK has grown to become the ‘Destination of Choice’ for many Somali terrorists-come-holidaymakers.
Destination of choice? Where have these radicals assembled such opinion? Is NewsReader-3000 informing me that these terrorists have managed to swing the leading travel agents towards their revolutionary fervour? Have they given birth to the Heretics’ Travel Bureau? Do they pop in on the off chance, with the intention of discovering the latest hotspot for not acquiring a tan, but a name in martyrdom history, for mercilessly ending the lives of umpteen innocent people?
Now, I do not know a great deal about anything, but I do know that this really does live up to my own name. Absolute, complete, unadulterated rhetoric.
Perhaps I should watch the news more.