Mal function

 © Dean Neitman |

Now it was past midnight, and he was raving again.

“My eyes! My eyes! They burn so! Tear me away from this glowing box — There are demons within!” he cried, and that was what he said when he was making sense. Mostly he descended into gibberish and something that made as much sense as a politician explaining his purpose in life.

They worried about him, what with the midnight babbling fits and all. Once upon a time, he had been a fairly rational  soul, albeit somewhat boring. But then he discovered the box.

“Oh, shiny!” he said, but they figured he was just quoting from that obscure TV show he loved, so they didn’t worry. 

But before long, he began saying things like, “The poor brown fox always seeking seashells by over the lazy candlestick dog,” and “Little Bo Lamb, she ran into a shoe.” Wise men and wise women examined him, and they concluded of course that he had fallen under the spell of glowing box addiction.

Having a diagnosis didn’t help. Not only could he not stop — addiction being addiction, after all — but he seemed to savor taking leave of his senses. 

“Of course I’m insane,” he insisted in one of his more lucid moments. “It’s the only sane place to be.” But his eyes began to fade from all the staring at LED light, and a doctor sort of person finally proclaimed retina burn and brain fog, and oh! the commotion THAT caused.

One day as he was singing, “This old man, he killed Stan, he dropped knickknacks in the can,” he whacked Paddy and gave his dog a bone. 

While all this was going on, the wizards who had created the glowing box were watching from half a world away.

“Our little plan goes perfectly,” they laughed among themselves. “If we can turn enough rational souls into gibbering idiots, we will conquer their land without firing a weapon in anger, or in any other emotional state for that matter.”

“‘Oh, it burns! My eyes! My eyes!’” another cried in a mocking tone. And the wizards all laughed again, and theirs was an evil laugh.

“They can’t beat us!” they crowed.

But suddenly, from a corner, a small voice said, “I got no need to beat you, I just want to go my way.”

They stopped and stared and had no answer for that. “No need to beat us”?!

Somehow, their entire plan began to collapse from that moment.

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