22 December 2008

Local newspapers carried a typical story of a man who had been sending text messages out of a coma. How he had been in that coma a long long time in a hospital of the city and how all family and nurses and all that had by then got used to the slow rise and fall of his breathing, the ocassional twitching of fingers, shifting of toes, movement caused by evacuation of bowels etc. And then how the mother of the guy one day went by to visit, unexpected and alone one winter afternoon and noticed his thumb was moving, twitching, nervous, circling, stark against the white sheets. And how one thing led to another and a small crowd assembled to stare, and how when his uncle came by he remarked that with all that movement it looked like the man might be texting in his 'sleep'. And although laughing and incredulous, larking around almost they tried it with a old Nokia that belonged to his step-dad, just like the one he had before, and his mate Kev or Baz (according to different reports), bent his hand around it, the digits a strange combination of eager and inert. Also how the brother begged them not to do all this, saying that it was all too much disrespect, too much against nature, that "they should leave him coma in peace" (sic) but that reason prevailed and soon there was a near dead man lying horizontal, familly and a few stray nurses/night-porters gathered round and the phone in his hand. Of the thumbs continued movements, and the texts he started to send. Strange texts the paper said, very strange. As if maybe written in a texting slang of another era, or in the code-word argot of some unknown teenage tribe, or maybe perhaps gibberish. They called in a psychic, a texting expert, a poet etc to pass for a panel of opinion and still none the fucking wiser. Paper reprinted a few of them messages also. Dumb combinations of letters that did not make words, but chilling sounds and people of that town wrote in to claim that they could read messages printed there but no one really confirmed or believed. A few weeks running the papers featured the bloke, in many editions, with a few pictures and all speculations about what strange zone he was communicating from, between life and death they said, most likely. Local radio even used his texts as an introduction to songs each Saturday morning and invited listeners to call in or even send their own texts to interpret them. But then came the matter of his bill, and in the end, what with the familly skint and the general down-turn, there was no one that wanted to keep paying it and communications, 'such as they were' the paper added in a late attack of cynicism, ceased.