It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


(yellow) A question.

page: 1

log in


posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 07:42 AM
The following story is dedicated to Claire Short, Katharine Gun and the almost universal incompetence of the British intelligence service.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn something so fundamentally significant that it could potentially invert the contemporary political order? If not please humour me and think about it know. You would become a person of such unparalleled influence that you could radically change the lives of people in countries you couldn’t pronounce. You would be the guiding force for people you would never meet. A human deity. God on Earth.

Charlie thought about it. He spent several hours of every day thinking about it. In truth, he thought about little else. He was sitting in the office in his usual way, leaning back on the two rear legs of his chair, feet upon the desk that contained four empty draws and four broken locks meaning that he couldn’t get into the said draws. There was one solitary piece of paper on the work service that two minutes earlier Charlie had been writing on so furiously that his biro had left a perfect indentation of his words on the wood of the desk. He sucked his pen thoughtfully. Does anyone have the right to transform the lives of billions of people without their prior consent? Part of the reason criminal behaviour is so abhorrent is that people who you don’t even know can suddenly appear in your life and change it for the worse. Is it possible that that would be exactly what could happen if such sensitive information was released – that people’s lives would get substantially worse? By Charlie’s logic that would make the person who released the information an international master criminal. Could you ever be completely certain that you were releasing the information for the good of the populace rather than through self-interest and ensuring your place in history? To make a decision of that magnitude on a selfish whim would make you worse than a criminal. You’d be a running the world based on your ego. You’d be a tyrant. So in effect, by releasing information that would save the world from tyranny you’d risk becoming a tyrant yourself?

Charlie didn’t know anymore, he’d succeeded in confusing himself several minutes ago. That’s why he had stopped writing. He looked at the complex paradoxes that he had scribed and groaned painfully. In one swift movement he leant forward, causing his chair to crash back onto all of its four legs, screwed his paper up into the tightest of balls and released it across the room where it landed in his bin on top of the already browning apple core that he had deposited there earlier.

Charlie was immeasurably frustrated and he’d had enough. He couldn’t cope anymore. He pulled his gun out of his left pocket. He needed this. He pulled the gun towards his face and opened his mouth slightly. He pulled the trigger. Nothing. He pulled it again. Nothing. He shook the immaculately clean gun in front of his face and pleaded with it to work. His prayers were answered. The gun burst into life in front of his face. A small, impotent looking orange flame emerged from the end of his gun and he just about managed to light his cigarette. He’d promised his wife he’d quit but he just couldn’t. He needed this. Charlie inhaled sharply and walked towards the window of his bleak, dark and barren office. It was too dirty to see through and so he wiped it clean with his right hand and wiped the oily grime off his hand and onto the back of his trousers leaving an unpleasant smear that would take his wife hours to clean off the following day. Charlie didn’t think about that though, he had more important issues on his mind. He watched through the window as a man and a young boy played happily. Could anyone be justified in changing their lives? He still didn’t know.

He walked back over to his bin, bent down crookedly, lifted out his piece of paper, unravelled it and read over what he’d written. If he could prove to himself that his decision to release information was truly altruistic and that it would result in a better world he would be happy to do it. Well in theory anyway. In reality, Charlie was a coward. Maybe that’s partly why he spent so much time thinking about this very dilemma – he craved power. All cowards crave power. Cowardice is in essence a fear of vulnerability; of not being in total control. To hold such unimaginable power is to gain that control. However, Charlie was more than just an average coward; he was a coward to such an extent that he was too cowardly to stop himself being a coward.

In truth Charlie knew he wouldn’t release any information of any importance if he had the opportunity, and that angered him. What angered him even more is that he knew he would never get the opportunity to make a decision that critical. But the all time number one of things that angered Charlie was that he dedicated several hours of every day to fantasy world where he could change the world. He threw his piece of paper across the room and it fell to the floor pathetically, only about a meter from his feet. He hadn’t screwed it up into a ball. He couldn’t even throw a piece of paper adequately. He ran over to the bin a kicked it viciously leaving a sizeable dent and elevating the apple core a couple of centimetres off its bottom. He ran his fingers through his hair and groaned for what seemed like hundredth time of the day. It was time to go home.

As he left his bleak, dark and barren office he briefly caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He saw the oily streak down the back of his trousers. He realised it would take his wife hours to clean it off. She was going to kill him. Charlie groaned one last time, turned off the lights and began the long walk home.


posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 07:48 AM
Nice story, told beatifully. Keep it up!


posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 08:11 AM
Excellent work. Very descriptive, very well thought out. Almost philosophical.

Plus, the dedications were funny.


posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 09:57 AM
thankyou for your kind words.

posted on Mar, 12 2004 @ 09:40 PM
I agree, well written story

new topics

top topics

log in