Back To Normality

Bulges appeared in the fabric of space-time. Great ugly bulges.

"Haaaauuurrgghhh..." said Arthur as he felt his body softening and bending in unusual directions. "Southend seems to be melting away... the stars are swirling... a dustbowl... my legs are drifting off into the sunset... my left arm's come off too." A frightening thought struck him: "Hell," he said, "how am I going to operate my digital watch now?" He wound his eyes desperately around in Ford's direction.

"Ford," he said, "you're turning into a penguin. Stop it."

Again came the voice.

"Two to the power of seventy-five thousand to one against and falling."

Ford waddled around his pond in a furious circle.

"Hey, who are you," he quacked. "Where are you? What's going on and is there any way of stopping it?"

"Please relax," said the voice pleasantly, like a stewardess in an airliner with only one wing and two engines one of which is on fire, "you are perfectly safe."

"But that's not the point!" raged Ford. "The point is that I am now a perfectly safe penguin, and my colleague here is rapidly running out of limbs!"

"It's alright, I've got them back now," said Arthur.

"Two to the power of fifty thousand to one against and falling," said the voice.

"Admittedly," said Arthur, "they're longer than I usually like them, but..."

"Isn't there anything," squawked Ford in avian fury, "you feel you ought to be telling us?"

The voice cleared its throat. A giant petit four lolloped off into the distance.

"Welcome," the voice said, "to the Starship Heart of Gold."

The voice continued.

"Please do not be alarmed," it said, "by anything you see or hear around you. You are bound to feel some initial ill effects as you have been rescued from certain death at an improbability level of two to the power of two hundred and seventy-six thousand to one against-possibly much higher. We are now cruising at a level of two to the power of twenty-five thousand to one against and falling, and we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway. Thank you. Two to the power of twenty thousand to one against and falling."

The voice cut out.

Ford and Arthur were in a small luminous pink cubicle.

Ford was wildly excited.

"Arthur!" he said, "this is fantastic! We've been picked up by a ship powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive! This is incredible! I heard rumors about it before! They were all officially denied, but they must have done it! They've built the Improbability Drive! Arthur, this is... Arthur? What's happening?"

Arthur had jammed himself against the door to the cubicle, trying to hold it closed, but it was ill fitting. Tiny furry little hands were squeezing themselves through the cracks, their fingers were inkstained; tiny voices chattered insanely.

Arthur looked up.

"Ford!" he said, "there's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out."


"Five to one against and falling..." she said, "four to one against and falling... three to one... two... one... probability factor of one to one... we have normality, I repeat we have normality." She turned her microphone off-then turned it back on, with a slight smile and continued: "Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem.

Well... no more 20 hour programming days. Vacation is over and I've used up my grace period from my wife, it's just a normal Saturday again and we have to go food shopping since the stores are closed tomorrow, Monday its back to work.



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