Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All was said and done

           Brian was a peddler’s dream. When out shopping in the mall, all it took was friendly smile, a come-hither look and a few words of encouragement from a silk tongued salesperson to ensure he returned home with quite a bit more than he originally set out for. It was the same on his doorstep. His friends were convinced that word had spread amongst the doorstep sellers that he was an easy touch, such was the sheer volume of cold calls he received. So it was no surprise that when his doorbell emitted its chirpy melody late one evening he trotted eagerly in its direction. As soon as he started opening the door a rush of freezing air hit him in the face. That was strange because it had been a perfect summers’ day and when he was preparing himself for a night in front of the television. He had shut the curtains on a still, warm and moonlit night. It was certainly different now. He could just make out the shape of his visitor in the blackness, standing a few feet from him wrapped in a fluttering cloak, his face obscured by a baggy hood. He doesn’t recall exactly how the conversation went. Looking back, it was a dreamlike experience. He remembered something being said about a TV channel which would forewarn him of future events. He vaguely remembers agreeing to subscribe to it, but he wasn’t sure if he had. He heard nothing more about over the ensuing few days and he began to think he’d imagined the whole thing.

            It was early on a Tuesday evening. He was totally involved in his favourite quiz show on Channel 2. As usual he was shouting out the answers to the questions being asked of the contestants. Well, not exactly the answers because they were usually a guesses on his part and more often or not they were wrong. “Right Larry from London” bellowed the James the quiz-master, “on which day of the week does the Jewish Sabbath fall?” Contestant Larry smiled a knowing smile and said “Friday James, the answer’s Friday”. And with that he turned and stared straight into the camera. His round face filled the TV screen and his bulging eyes looked straight into Brian’s. “This Friday” his voice wheezed. Brian went cold as a shiver ran up his spine. Then everything went back to normal. Larry answered a couple of easy questions and went away with the night’s star prize.
          Something similar happened Wednesday evening. An endless stream of adverts was playing out between parts one and two of something Brian always watched. He liked the adverts. So often he was tempted by those seemingly too-good-to- be-true offers that most people ignore. He was particularly interested by a promotion for new toothpaste which would turn your teeth two shades whiter in two days. “Two shades, two days” enthused the Z-list celeb, his impossibly white teeth flashing. His sickly beaming smile suddenly filled the screen, making Brian physically jump. “Just two days” hissed the voice.

            The next morning, Thursday, Brian went as usual to the newsagents shop to collect his daily paper. He wandered back home half reading the headline story. As he walked through his door he heard a voice. He froze to spot. There must be an intruder. He grabbed a brolly from the coat stand and listened. At first the voice came from his living room, and then it seemed to emanate from upstairs, his bedroom he thought. Then downstairs, and then upstairs again. Suddenly the voices boomed out “Tomorrows news today” from the living room. “Tomorrows news today” from his bedroom. Then he realised the noise was coming from his two TV’s. He was overcome with feelings of relief and concern . The televisions had been turned off the previous night; how had they suddenly come to life? He dropped the umbrella and walked into the lounge. The face on the screen was looking straight at him. “Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow ” it shouted over and over again. Brian stabbed the off button and the TV went blank. “Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow" yelled the voice upstairs. He rushed up to his bedroom and flung his fist at the off button sending the television flying from the table and onto the floor. There was an explosion and glass from the shattered screen rained all over the floor. “Tomorrow” the broken TV whispered. “Tomorrow, when all will be said and done
           Brian was terrified. His mind filled with images and sounds. First the caped and hooded salesman at his door, then the quiz contestant and the creepy guy selling toothpaste. Friday then  two days then tomorrow.. Something was happening tomorrow. He had to get away, do something that he'd not intended to do. The TV was warning him about something. Something terrible or something good? He didn’t know. Just get away. Do something he wouldn’t normally do. He booked himself into a cheap hotel in the next town and spent the day at the movies, walking in the park and sitting in coffee shops. Late in the evening he went to his rented room and turned on the ancient television. He watched a few of his favourite programmes but didn’t take them in. Eventually he dozed off and had a restless night fighting the thoughts that swirled around his head.

          Friday morning he got out of the lumpy bed, and turned the TV onto the News Channel . It was the usual mix of arguing politicians and international atrocities. Perhaps a long hot shower was what was needed to prepare him for the day ahead. After an unappetising breakfast he headed off the local shopping mall. The first thing that caught his eye was the Lotto stall. The salesman called to Brian. “It’s your lucky day sir. Someone has to win a million today and it could be you!” Brian always believed what a salesman said so he got himself a couple of tickets. After a day of aimlessly wandering around he went back to his hotel and eagerly awaited the big draw on national TV. He sat impatiently though the preamble and endured a girl band miming to their latest tuneless song. And then, ticket in hand he counted off the numbers he had chosen, most of which corresponded those on the coloured balls popping up the tube and lining themselves up in the ‘tray of fortune’. He wasn’t to be an instant millionaire, but he had won a pretty good sum.
            Brian was understandably ecstatic. The TV had forewarned him of something, but he hadn’t known what. In the end, there was no danger; he'd worried unnecessarily. There was no need to stay in the seedy hotel a moment longer so he booked himself out and treated himself to a taxi home. He got back quite late and decided to go straight to bed and catch up with some of his lost sleep. The broken TV still lay on the floor; he'd clear it up in the morning. He was asleep in moments. But not long after he woke up again. He looked at the clock beside his bed. 11.59 PM it said. Just then a glow started to appear from the broken TV. A tiny anxious voice, virtually inaudible came from its smashed cabinet. “Go” it said “Go”.  Brian smiled to himself certain he was dreaming.

            They say he must have suffered poor chap.  The fuel tanker which smashed into Brian’s house set it ablaze in seconds and there was no way anyone could have rescued him. The next morning a caped hooded figure placed a small bunch of flowers by the burnt remains of Brian’s door. “ I tried to warn you” he muttered “All was said, now all is sadly done”


  1. What a chilling tale. Brian was so gullible on TV ads and gimmicks. Who knew the voice was trying to save his life? Nice twist.

  2. poor soul...first a win and then..well, anyway I enjoyed this tale...the twist was awesome

  3. Oh, I just love love love your stories, and am so glad to be back!



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