Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)
TITLE: The world is a lie
By Daniel Kane
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You've been abducted by aliens
The world is a dream
Your house is haunted
The universe will end next week?
No, no, no, no, NO! That's my answer to such superstitious spouting. Normal husband. Normal home. Normal neighbourhood. Normal garage. Normal town. What I can see and touch is real, and what I can't, isn't. That's my view on things. Or rather, it was. Everything changed drastically only a few months ago.
It was a normal Saturday afternoon. I was lounging around, resting after a particularly troublesome spark plug had coated me with grease. All of a sudden, my wife Sandra insisted that we go out to the cinema to watch a nice romantic film. Grudgingly I accepted. The football was about to come on the telly, and you know how every man feels about that. They weren't showing any romantic films at the cinema that afternoon. Elated, I was preparing myself to rush home to the awaiting T.V. I still had five minutes, if I drove like crazy, I could just about make it. But oh no. Sandra wanted a film, and she'd have a film. So, I randomly picked a show, bought the popcorn, and we entered the dark room. To say I was unprepared for what was revealed to me there is to say that a desert nomad is unprepared to look upon the vastness of the Pacific ocean. Unprepared doesn't begin to describe it. That film tore away from me my comfortable 'real is what I see and touch' world and plunged me into an entirely new dimension. No, they weren't screening the Jesus movie! They were screening the Matrix.
From that day forward, nothing was the same. I was a changed man. Stunned, I drove home, half in a dream. Shell-shocked I stumbled to the kitchen and made a cup of tea to calm my nerves. Appalled, I remembered that the tea I was drinking didn't exist. Shattered, I fled upstairs to the safety of sleep. But even asleep I was tormented. My dreams were full of agents in suits and black glasses, flying people, dodging bullets, and billions of red tanks full of humans. One tank in particular chilled me to the very marrow. My tank.
I have to admit that I became rather paranoid. If I spotted some smartly dressed businessman coming my way, I'd immediately duck into the nearest alley and cower behind a dustbin. A chance déjà vu would send me running in search of a bomb shelter. Every time I repaired an over-heated radiator or a blown fuse, I'd see these robot squids coming out at me, burning me with red lasers. I knew the truth. They knew that I knew the truth. I was also always on the lookout for a man in a black trench coat, or a woman in tight black leather. Since I knew the truth, I reasoned, Neo or Trinity had to come and rescue me soon. But nobody came. And so I continued to live in terror of Smith.
Nothing my friends could say made any difference. “It's just a movie. Hollywood. It's not real.” Hah! As if. My family didn't understand. I've examined all the Matrix films, scrutinized them, and I can see that they make perfect sense – a lot more sense that walking on water or cloning loaves of bread. I wonder whether Neo can walk on water? Anyway, there was one argument that almost stumped me. “If it was real, they wouldn't have shown it to us. Why tell us the truth?” Then I realized that the sentinels are clever. They know that some people will be approached by Neo or Trinity or Morpheus. So they use Hollywood to tell us about them. That way if a black man in round sunglasses comes up to you and offers you a pill, you explain it away as an over-fanatical Matrix fan. Now, of course, I know the truth. I'm a threat. I'm writing this down so you can also know the truth. Not that it does any good, as the machines can just delete this document. I've had enough. I can't live with the terror any more. Hang on. What's that? J.W.s in black suits and sunglasses? Not a chance. They've come for me! Neo, where are you?
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