It’s awesome knowing how you’re going to die. You’re not afraid of anything. You stop worrying about AIDS or aflatoxins; you eat globefish in the sushi-ya; step on the gas when you’re on the freeway… because you know that’s not the way it’s going to be.

How have I arrived at this happy situation?

It all started the day I googled relationships. I don’t know why I did that: I’m happy as I am. As a rule I ignore the sidebar, but for once it caught my eye…

Ending A Relationship? Do It Our Way!

Idly I clicked the link. Soon I’d signed-up and wired the amount requested. Next day a delivery man tossed a large if lightweight package into my hands. I bore it to the kitchen and opened it up, like a lion opening up an antelope.

What emerged was a cheap toy space-gun, strapped to a Raspberry Pi by a ribbon of colored wires. My first reaction was: what a waste of $79.99!

But suppose it worked?

There was a website for instructions, so I screwed the cap off a bottle of Merlot and settled down to read. It was simple. Bring up your ex’s house on Street View, point the spacegun and squeeze the trigger. So that’s what I did.

A flash… and a column of smoke sprouted from her house like Jack and the Beanstalk. There it lay, in ruins. Crap FX, but oh! The towering feeling!

Now Google doesn’t like being hacked. Who does? But nothing tricks the little gnomes for long. I tweeted a bookmark to my buddies, but next day the hack had gone. No smoke, no ruins: just the out-of-date street scene that was there before.

Three o’clock that night I had an idea and couldn’t get back to sleep. I got out of bed, fixed myself a coffee and woke up the computer.

Back in 2003, around the time of the Second Gulf War, folk were bursting with ideas on how to locate and kill Saddam Hussein. You could buy playing cards in any gift shop in the USA with photos of the whole Iraq regime as royalty. If memory serves, Saddam himself was the Ace of Spades. The idea was to annexe the entire poker-playing US army of occupation to the intelligence community in an unofficial capacity, with zero impact on the overall IQ of either.

Another forgotten relic of the Iraq War was a system of seven satellites in low earth orbit which picked up water vapor from noctilucent clouds high in the mesosphere. With GPS they could drop a dart of ice on any point on the Earth’s surface. By the end of 2003 Saddam was captured, the Pentagon cancelled the contract and the firm filed for Chapter 7.

I never did get paid my final fortnight’s salary, and I wrote it all down to experience. The only thing I’d gained from my assignment in NJ, besides where to hang out south of Princeton to pick up the best chicks, was privileged knowledge of a secret website for uploading the target coordinates.

I checked the web address. Goddamm if it wasn’t still there. No, I didn’t have an account any more, but I knew how to get around that little problem. I’d have a word with my Chinese friend.

…to be continued