Things have been going pretty OK on the Rampant Paranoia front since the last time They attempted to communicate with me through their innocent puppet Brad. I managed to evade Their evil clutches that time, by means of a fiendishly clever subterfuge involving running away very quickly and hiding under my bed, but I see now that They just don't give up.
I arrived at work this morning to find this chilling message on the arm of a comfy chair that sits directly outside my cubicle:
Facility was notified.
I have never until now appreciated the expression "the hair stood up on the back of my neck," thinking it a strange, atavistic cliché dating to early humanity's hunter/gatherer days on the African veldt, when we were rather more hirsute and spinal hair-erection may have served some evolutionary purpose. But when this missive, this eldritch tableau, reached my eyes, my hand reached convulsively to my neck, and sure enough, my knotted and combinéd locks had parted and each particular hair stood on end. To liken them to quills upon the fretful porpentine may be laying it on a bit thick, but I would accept a comparison to the slightly less fretful, though no less paranoid, hedgehog. Pushing my two eyes back into their spheres whence they had, like stars, started, and clutching my chest to still the shooting pains that emanated outward from my chest and down my left arm, I staggered into my cube, sat down heavily in my chair and began Cheyne-Stokes breathing into a paper bag I keep handy for just these occasions.
Facility was notified. Dear God in heaven, will They never rest?
I have spent the morning scrabbling frantically through web sites and wiki-thingummies searching for ways in which the presence of Ming the Merciless, whose dread Saturnine figure anchors the paper to the chair, might be interpreted. Have They at long last, through Mephistophelian secret back-channel diplomacy and hideous dissembling, joined forces with the minions of Planet Mongo to bedevil my days? It shakes me to my very core to admit that all evidence points inexorably in that direction.
Facility was notified. Of what? I can't help but ask. What unknowable offense have I committed? What Unwritten Law have I transgressed? What unspeakable horror have I unleashed upon myself, that They would see fit to inform me that Facility -- with what banal euphemisms True Evil cloaks itself! -- was notified?
I start at every ring of the phone. Every e-mail that dings its arrival in my querulous Inbox causes me to leap backwards as if touched by fire. Every passing conversation in the hall outside takes on hidden meaning, couched in codes as impenetrable as Linear-B. Comings and goings in my AIM Buddy List tell dark tales of secret meetings taking place, meetings in which inexorable fates are decided, sub rosa alliances confirmed, horrid markers are called in.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Neddie,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
With infinite stealth, I pack my knapsack, packing the laptop in just so, and the notebooks in which my multifarious secrets are kept. I will reverse direction several times on the way home, taking great care to see who follows. Caution forbids me from saying where I'm going to ground, but I hear you can live on dustbunnies and dog-hair for days.