Revolting words

I had a strong feeling I was being watched as I sat down at my desk and pressed the button on the keyboard that would bring the laptop back to life.

I’m sure I saved that story but the document is blank

I was frowning, I had just spent three solid hours crafting my piece for National Geographic and now here it was on screen, or rather here it wasn’t, the document on screen was blank. How in hell was that possible? I quickly checked that I hadn’t accidently opened a new blank document with my other one lying behind it, covered on screen by the blank one. No the document in front of me had the correct name for my story, only, it wasn’t there. I quickly closed down Word and it didn’t ask me to save the document; now that was odd. I restarted the word processor application and opened the document and it was blank.

Now that definitely is odd!

By now I was to say the least not in a good humour. It’s a heck of a lot of work to lose like that and I am very careful about saving and backing up. There wasn’t even a recovery file showing. It was gone, the whole thing was bloody gone.

I felt a slight itch on my arm and believing it to be one of those little midges that float around this area I impatiently slapped at it. The itching stopped, only to start up again a few inches higher towards my elbow. This time I looked and sure enough there was a black speck on my forearm. I slapped at it again and for a split second, just before my hand landed squarely on it I could swear it looked just like a lower case letter a.

Shaking my head at my own silliness I blinked a couple of times and turned my attention back to the screen in front of me, still annoyed at losing the work.

A tiny movement on the desk top caught my eye. Some other tiny insect had just crawled under the lip of my scanner lid. Now, I do a lot of photo retouching work on my father’s old 1950’s black and whites and the idea of some tiny bug getting itself frazzled on the perfectly clean glass or on the white backcloth was way too much. My irritation growing I reached over and opened the lid. There was no insect there at all, just a tiny little word ‘the’ laying on the middle of the glass. Definitely not good, that was ink and it would take a lot of careful polishing to remove it from the glass. This was so not going to be my day, I could see it already.

Whilst I was contemplating this latest mini crisis to engulf me I felt an itching sensation this time on my other arm. I looked down and this time I could quite clearly see a capital letter ‘I’ moving around between the hairs on my arm. A second later the hairs on my arm were sticking straight up as I contemplated what I was seeing.
A skittering noise to my right alerted me and by instinct my head swivelled round and I had to blink again to believe what I was seeing, the irritating scratching on my arm all but forgotten. On the book shelves to my immediate right was a very peculiar sight indeed. The white painted wooden shelves were covered in little black words.

Unbelievably the words were chasing each other up the shelving uprights. Leading the pack was a chimpanzee closely followed by another. There was a orang-utan close behind, its double jointed nature helping it on its way. This was followed by severall gorillas and even a giraffe, although what a giraffe was doing climbing was beyond me. Hang on a minute what were the words doing climbing anyway. I shook my head and looked down at the point where the shelves came down to the level of the desk. There was a huge herd of small words there, several thes, many fews and quite a lot of thats. Bringing up the rear were several puny little ifs.

Suddenly the whole room seemed to come alive. A large group of theres were being chased across the desk top by a large capitalised Serengeti. Several grasslands were worrying at a staple I’d accidentally discarded next to the stapler and I have no idea what three azure skies were trying to do to the hole punch! This could not be happening, my office was being overrun with my own words.

I looked down and realised the whole carpet was covered with crawling letters. Unlike on the desk top these appeared to be unconnected to each other and then my eyes caught the movement as an Africa carried out a perfect swan dive off the desk to land on the carpet and smash itself to pieces. The jumble of letters on the floor was heaving and moving as each letter tried to re-establish its place in a word. Occasionally a few would succeed only to break up again quickly. It was difficult to make out from a sitting position but I’m sure I spotted an occasional get out appearing.

That was it I could take no more. I fled the room and left my own words to their own devices as I quickly slammed the door shut and decided to forgo the need to write for the day.

Half an hour later I suppose I’d calmed down because I started to think about ways to deal with the situation that didn’t involve me in any kind of suffering. Then it struck me there was a way.

It was the matter of moments to duck into my daughters room, thankfully she was at school or there might have been a protest when I pinched the magnetic letters set from her toy cupboard. “Daddy needs to borrow them” probably wouldn’t cut it with her.

Ten minutes later my metal yardstick was adorned with the words I had spelled out using her multicoloured letters and I quickly opened the door again and thrust the yardstick in before closing the door firmly again.

There was an instant hubbub from inside the room but it was over very quickly. Cautiously I opened the door and peeped inside. Peace reigned, nothing moved. Breathing a sigh of relief I walked in and looked down at my yardstick. The letters were still intact on it but looked somewhat fatter than they had before. It took me another twenty minutes to check every nook and cranny but there wasn’t a word out of place to be seen.

It had worked, my desperate idea, my crazy idea had worked.

I’d simply used a single word and it had done the trick. The word HOOVER.

The end

Revolting words


Nottingham, United Kingdom

  • Artist

Artist's Description

A nightmare about writing



desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10% off

for joining the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.