The ground rips open and I fall down!
I land in an armchair in front of the TV. I’m watching a bleach commercial.
A devil appears.
“Where am I?” I ask him.
You’re in Time Hell – where you’re forced to relive all the time you wasted in your life.
I look back to the screen the advert finishes and starts again.
“But why is this on a loop? I never watched any adverts on repeat.”
“Sure. But I’ve grouped all your wasted time together. This advert was on T.V for seven years. In that time you watched it 842 times. So – as that is a waste of your time – you need to watch it 842 times here, in Time Hell.”
The advert begins for the third time.
“Don’t worry, there’s only 739 more of these left,” the devil says cheerfully.
“You’re a dick,” I proclaim, “This isn’t fair.”
“Hey man, it’s you that wasted all your time, don’t blame me.”
“How long will this go on for?”
“Well we have to go through every advert you ever watched, apart from the ones you enjoyed. I only count the time that you didn’t enjoy as wasted.”
“So how long will it go on for?”
You watched about one hour of T.V every day for most of your adult life. Of which, 19 minutes and twenty seconds was adverts. So when I times that number by the amount of days you were alive it’s 4623 hours, 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
“And 3 minutes and 4-”
“I can’t watch adverts for that long! I’ll go nuts. How do you know when I die anyway. Wait... I’m not dead now am I?”
“No no, I’m going to put you back on earth when I’m done. But let me tell you, you don’t live as long as you think.”
Eventually I come to the end of the adverts. My brain has turned to mush. I hate everything. But I try and pull myself together.
A blue and white screen flickers up in front of me, “Oh no.” I mutter.
“That’s right, Facebook.”
There’s a lump in my throat, and I feel a little queasy – I know this is going to be bad.
“Every boring status,” the devil begins, “Every pointless link, every bad holiday photo. We’re going to see them all.”
“Come on,” I plead, “Who says that was a waste of time – maybe I’m just... sociable.”
The devil laughs, and I realise that I’m fooling no-one.
So I have no choice but to sit there staring at irrelevant crap again and again and again. I never realised quite how much information there was in the world that I didn’t give a shit about. The white screen burns into my eyes, making me feel dizzy and sick. When I blink, my eyes feel like sandpaper. I hate the Devil and I hate this place. And despite my best efforts, I’m staring to hate myself. I have a terrible feeling that that was the Devil’s aim all along.
After what feels like few years I get to the last status update.
“Just had an amazing meal, chips and gravy. Yummy.”
It’s by someone I met once, at a party. But at least it’s all over now.
The room floods with darkness. I’m in bed, and I need a wee. I realise straight away what’s happening.
“Oh come on give me a break.”
“No way.” says the Devil from the darkness, “This is for all the times you were in bed and you were too lazy to get up and use the toilet, so you just lay there hoping the urge would go away, I mean that’s pretty stupid.”
“Sometimes it works” I mumble. I’m feeling pretty sleepy now. I wish I could just fall into blissful slumber – but my bladder won’t let me.
“I mean just get out of bed and do a piss. What’s the matter with you.”
“But I’m so comfortable. I don’t wanna move.” I say.
About three weeks pass. I try to just fall asleep but I can’t. Finally, I manage to force myself out of bed. The relief is amazing.
I start to worry about what’s coming next, I’m not sure I can take any more of this.
“You know, I could keep you here for another 25 years with all the stupid stuff you did in life.”
“I don’t deserve this.”
Suddenly we’re in a bar, and I’m looking at myself. I’m drunk and speaking – unnecessary loudly – to my friends.
“Life it what you make of it!” I slur, “Because... because... life is a gift; you can’t waste it, man. You’ve just got to... you know, grab it and... and... take it.... and live it, you know?”
The devil looks at me with a raised eyebrow, “You were always saying shit like that. All this positive, ‘life is great’ stuff. But you know what? You were all talk.”
I look down at my feet, he continues, “I could keep you here for five years just for all the time you talked about doing things, but never actually did them.”
I say nothing. I’m feeling pretty stupid.
“But look, I think you’ve learnt you lesson. Do you want to go back to earth.”
“Oh God, yes please.” I nod emphatically.
All the colours spin around my eyes and I’m back in my home. The first thing I do is unplug me T.V and put it in the bin. Then, I open my laptop.
“Right,” I say, “Let’s write this fucking novel.”