Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Worst Sound

There is never silence.

There is the quiet of the early morning, before the clatter, rattle, chatter of the waking machines; but even that is masked by the hum of extractors and the hiss of compressors.

After the awakening, in amongst the constant cacophony, there are other sounds. Tell-tales to listen out for.

And then there is another other sound. The worst sound. The sound we never want to hear.

It is as though someone popped a giant bag of crisps.

An ear-splitting pop-and-shatter noise, followed by the inevitable shriek of the alarm.

A bulb has blown.

Not in the way an everyday bulb blows in your bedside lamp or your kitchen light-fitting. Let's put it this way: if your bulb was a hand-grenade, this one would be a neutron bomb.

The machine shuts down. The people wonder what has happened. Where did Jackie Chan go? The lights come back up.

I know we have a problem.

The man-who-knows takes charge. He can make it fix.

Opening the machine to get at what's left of the bulb is akin to performing an autopsy on some metal creature whose heart has exploded. We peel away shiny sheets, like blast shielding, to survey the carnage inside. The glass is everywhere. The glittering cascade - a testament to the immense pressure the heart could not sustain.

There is nothing to fear now. The machine is powerless, and the combustible heart destroyed. Were the machine alive, however, we would be wearing flak-jackets, gloves and visors to prevent it from lashing out at our customary clumsiness.

Occupational hazards.

We get another machine to suck out the shattered offal and viscera. We ensure that the rest of the vital organs were undamaged in the blast. We have been lucky.

The man-who-knows performs a hasty heart-transplant.

We close him up.

We bring him back to life.

We tell management that we will be okay to run the next show of "The Spy Next Door". I wonder if the machine's heart-attack was some kind of extreme reaction to witnessing Jackie Chan debase himself for the American dollar. It's "Kindergarten Cop" meets "The Pacifier", for Frith's sake.


  1. Excellently written post. I truly enjoyed the narrative and descriptions. I hadn't ever thought about bulbs blowing out on the machines.

  2. pics or it didnt happen lololol

  3. Great write up, I love the way you tell it, nearly had me biting holes in my carpet lol.

  4. You can make anything interesting can't you? Do you write professionally at all?

  5. way to create empathy for a bulb!!

  6. Ah, but TUMTUM...yet another good read.

    That is all.


  7. TS: Cheers! It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it is a CRISIS!


    Sarah: Cheers!

    Armand: Be careful. Carpet fitting can be expensive.

    Carolyn: That's very kind of you to say. Professional? People get paid for writing?

    Yolanda: Bulbs have feelings too!

    Kelly: That's all I need from you.

    Cheers muchly for all taking the time to read and comment.

  8. I like the way you write, I had no idea what it was about but I was interested the whole time