Sunday, 21 February 2010

78. Encyclopaedia Panicka

Plagiarism Week - Day Seven, tipping the hat to Ben Partridge's Random Article blog, taking whatever is thrown out of Wikipedia's random article generator and writing a story about it. I thought about doing the same but it seemed a bit too close to what Ben is doing (plus my random article was rubbish), so here's a beginning about searching for a random article.

NB: I was going to set up the fictitious article on Wikipedia but they deleted it almost immediately, so you can see it on a seperate blog via the link halfway down the page.

Ross Norris had always assumed that boredom and laziness was the cocktail that was going to be his downfall. A warm, rich, somnolent cocktail, it must be said, like Horlicks, rum and warm cream. (A cocktail that boredom had, in fact, led him to create one afternoon. Not bad actually. Like malty opium.)

School had shown it, university had shown it, five years in the real world had shown it. He really should have learned his lesson by now, but this morning’s collection of overdue credit card bills, unpaid council tax, unemptied bins and a teetering Everest of missed deadlines suggested otherwise.

Today, however, Ross Norris’s singular capacity for procrastination was going to save his life.

At his desk with nothing to do – or, more accurately, nothing he wanted to do – and no one fun to do it with, Ross found himself poking about some online encyclopaedia. It was the kind written by its users and policed by well-meaning busy bodies. The moronic marshalled by the pedantic. In his more misanthropic moments, he viewed as a strong argument against democracy. The current prime minster: 8,000 word entry; Mr T: 16,000 word entry. Or maybe things were better that way round?

There was a ‘random article’ button on the home page. He hit it.

It took him to Ross Norris.

Ha! What are the odds? He seemed to remember some Aussie folk singer sharing the same name. Bit odd, but it would be even odder if it never happened. Even if it’s 3.1 million to one, there’s always the one. He decided to read a bit more about his namesake.

Hang on, this wasn’t right.

“Ross Norris is a media coverage analyst.”

What the fuck? That was him.

He skipped through it. It was a potted history of his life. Someone must have pieced it together from his CV. Company policy? Those bastards in IT! This was exactly what they’d find hilarious.

No, wait, there was stuff in here that couldn’t have been on a CV, about school and his best friend and things. Nick! That gimp. It was probably him. This was exactly the kind of thing that someone with the near permanent surfeit of time and imagination that Nick Nolan possessed would do.

But it still didn’t feel right. It wasn’t embarrassing enough for it to have come from him. And Nick didn’t live in London; there’s no way he’d know that much about his job. Or, Jesus, his gym membership, where he drank, where he played football, which bus he caught he caught, the coffee he bought every single morning – Christ, it even mentioned the barista he’d been pathetically flirting with was the last three months.

Norris suddenly felt like he had antifreeze in his veins. His desk was swimming in and out of focus. He looked around the office but no one appeared to be paying him any attention. That didn’t make him feel any less vulnerable. Was there a way to work out who’d written it? He looked at the top of the page. Nothing there, maybe –

Hang on. It didn’t read: “Ross Norris is a media coverage analyst.” It read: “Ross Norris was a media coverage analyst.” And then there was his date of birth: “b. 28 July 1981; d. 22 February 2010."

Fuck. That was today.

No comments:

Post a Comment