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"Report for duty independent consciousness number 3-7-23-46...

who shall be known during life cycle by the name Ross Douglas."

Sssssccchhhheeed the disembodied voice from the speakerbox in the corner. (Until the voice crackled into existence the speakerbox had been playing standard elevator Muzak.)

The room itself was like a padded cell minus the padding. A blank white floor (12' by 12') was framed by blank white walls and a blank white ceiling. The speakerbox in the top left hand corner of the room and the small raised platform that I was sitting on were the only things that prevented the room from being a perfect cube.

I was naked, I was completely bald, I had neither nipples nor belly button and, most disturbing of all, I had no genitalia.

"What the fu..." I began to say, but was interrupted by the voice from the speakerbox again.

"Report for duty independent consciousness number 3-7-23-46." Repeated the speakerbox.

I looked up at the speakerbox and wondered who independent consciousness number 3-7-23-46 was. The thought occurred to me that perhaps I was independent consciousness 3-7-23-46. "Who me?" I said, pointing at my chest.

"Yes you." Said the voice from the speakerbox.

I stood up and took the posture of someone at attention. "Erm... Independent consciousness number 3-7-23-46 reporting for duty." I said.

The speakerbox spoke again. "You are to report to initial programing."

"Ok." I said. "How do I get there?"

The speakerbox voice spoke again. "Bloody tech guys, why can't they remember to program a door into the shell." The voice said, a tone of disbelief apparent. A doorway appeared in the wall ahead of me. I walked towards it and it swooshed open with a noise exactly like that of a door on the Starship Enterprise.

The room in front of me was about the size of an average elevator and had been decorated by the same people responsible for the room I was about to leave. The only differences between the two being the size and the lack of anywhere to sit. I stepped into the room and the door closed behind me with the same Enterprise swoosh.

The speakerbox in the corner of the room spoke again. "See, that's the kind of thing I mean; They can't remember to program a door but they always program the doors so they sound like you're about to enter the turbolift in Star Trek. I hate those guys." The voice said.

"I'm sorry, are you talking to me?" I asked.
"Whoops. Sorry about that independent consciousness number 3-7-23-46, I didn't realise I'd left the microphone on." Said the voice.
"No problem." I said.

Time passed.

The door swooshed open and I stepped out.

I stood in a room roughly the same size as the room I had first found myself in. A white chair sat in front of a desk, also white, which lay in the middle of the, yes you guessed it, white, room. On top of the desk was a large bundle of folders stuffed with paperwork. Behind the paperwork sat a man in blue coveralls. "Good life to you independent consciousness 3-7-23-46." Said the man, who's voice I recognised from the speakerbox.

"Yeah. Errm. Hi." I said.

"The folders on this table contain every piece of information you need to know in order to live your life according to the scheme of The Grand Whazoo; May he giggle for all eternity; You are to read and remember them." The man said.

"Excuse me? The Grand Whozoo?" I asked.
"The Grand Whazoo; May he giggle for all eternity." The man said.
"And who, may I ask, is The Grand Whazoo?"
"May he giggle for all eternity..." Added the man, as though to indicate that the saying of the name The Grand Whazoo should immediately be followed by the words "May he giggle for all eternity.

"Yeah, that cat. Who is he?" I asked.
"He is The Supreme Being... The Creator, The Architect, He is Jesus, He is Bhudda, He is Allah, He is Yahweh, He is Jah Rastafari, He is Brahman, He is Shiva... He is The Grand Whazoo, may he giggle for all eternity."

"So far as I can see, "He" is The Great and Powerful Oz." I said, making it clear to the man behind the desk I wasn't going to fall for any of that mumbo jumbo. "Now who's in charge?"

"You fail to understand." Said the man behind the desk.
"No, dipshit. You fail to understand. You fail to understand that if I'm not talking to your supervisor in as soon as possible I'm going to give your interior designer a fucking heart attack."

The man behind the desk blinked out of existence and was replaced by an elderly gentleman. "Hello Ross." He said.
"And who the fuck are you?" I asked.
"I am whom you seek." The elderly gentleman said.
"So you're The Grand Whazoo then?" I questioned.
"Indeed I am." The Whazoo replied.
"Got any ID?" I asked.

The Grand Whazoo laughed and clicked his fingers. The white room blinked out of existence and the whole of the universe was laid out in front of me. "Good enough?" The Grand Whazoo said with a grand sweeping gesture of his arms.

"I was thinking more along the lines of a driving license or a utilities bill but I'm willing to let you off." I said, even though I was almost dumbstruck with the view.

"Trust me, you wouldn't want to see the utilities bill for this place and my drivers license picture makes me look like I should be on the sex offenders register." The Grand Whazoo said, with a detectable hint of humour in his voice.

"So Ross, what seems to be the problem?" He asked.
"I've got a few questions." I said, still looking around at the magnificent view all around us.
"Fire away." He said.
"Why am I here?" I asked.
"For many reasons. The details are in the files if you'd care to read them." He said.

The Grand Whazoo clicked his fingers and the universe blinked out of existence to be replaced by the sterile room with the file filled desk.
"As the attendant said, the files contain all the information needed to live life your life according to the grand scheme." He said.

"And what if I don't want to live by your grand scheme?" I asked, wondering what I was doing questioning the supreme being and also pondering exactly how much wrath and vengeance I was about to experience. The Grand Whazoo tipped his head slightly to one side, like a dog who's just been shown a card trick.

"Strange." He said.
"What's strange?" I questioned.

"As with all other creatures of your type your first instinct was to challenge the authority of the grand scheme; This is basic programming; But when faced with The Ultimate Being, having been shown the entire Universe in the blink of an eye most of them choose to develop a passion for reading." The Grand Whazoo said. "It would seem that you are... Different. Unique even."

"Well, that's me. So what now?" I asked.
"Now you will become the Independent Consciousness known as, erm, oh bugger I've forgotten it... Sorry." Said The Grand Whazoo. With a click of his fingers a shining steel clipboard appeared in his hand. "Ross Douglas." He read.

The Grand Whazoo clicked his fingers and the lights went out. It was pitch black. In fact it was darker than that. Imagine you built a torch that instead of emitting light, emitted dark. Now imagine you put a bulb in it with the power of a billion suns. Now imagine switching it on. It was that dark.

Time passed.

Like a small single star above, a light eventually appeared high above me.

Time passed.

Muffled sounds began to filter their way into my still, dark, world.

Time passed again. So I attempted to trip it up, but failed miserably as Time doesn't have a leg.

Slowly the small pinprick of light that had appeared above me grew in size.

Time passed once again. I apologised for attempting to stop its forward progress and hoped it wouldn't be to hard on me.

Without warning a klaxon sounded. A klaxonish sound reverberated through my dark world, hurting my ears and causing me to cover them with my hands. The klaxon stopped as suddenly as it had started and was replaced by someone speaking in some kind of jargon.

"Tea miner win minwin tent ant mountain" Said a voice. I thought for a second I'd developed some kind of hearing disability after spending so much time alone without anything to listen to when I realised that the reason I couldn't hear properly was that I still hand my hands over my ears.

"T-minus one minute and counting" Said a female voice. Her words were clear and had a consonance so perfect that if the best songbird of the world were to hear it they would explode in a fit of jealousy, feathers and innards.

"Independent Consciousness number 3-7-23-46 ready to disengage universal consciousness, prepare endorphin assistance for host carrier." Said a male voice. The male voice was so dissonant that if the worst songbird in the world were to hear it it would explode into a bloody cloud of feathers and innards through the sheer joy of knowing it was not the worst thing to listen to on the earth. (The Grand Whazoo likes there to be balance in all things.)

"T-minus Fifty seconds and counting." Said the angelic female voice.
"Endorphin injectors charged and ready to fire." Said the opposing male voice.
"You men are all the same, it's all about the injection isn't it." Said the female voice.
"You love it." Said the male voice, suggestively.

"T-minus Forty seconds and counting." Said the female voice.
"Awaiting order to discharge Independent Consciousness." The male voice said.
"You see, it's always "inject" this and "discharge" that with you lot. Is it any wonder women prefer the company of other women?" Said the female voice.
"Admit it, you love it when I talk dirty." Said the male voice, with enough suggestiveness in his voice to make a nun become a cock-hungry whore overnight.

"T-minus Thirty seconds and counting..." Began the female voice. "And for your information I happen to find the way you talk abhorrent. It is degrading and disgusting to say the least. It may be OK to talk to your male counterparts like that but I assure you it is not OK to speak to me like that. I have a good mind to report you to The Grand Whazoo; May he giggle for all eternity... T-minus erm, Sixteen and a half seconds and counting." The female voice continued.

"At least I can talk and do my job at the same time love." Said the male voice, sarcastically.
"You absolute bast... T-minus Ten seconds and counting... ard. Said the female voice, as though to make a mockery of the male voices previous statement.

"Fancy a shag?" Said the male voice.
"T-minus five." Said the female voice.
"Pull your coveralls off." Said the male voice, commandingly.
"T-minus Four." Said the female voice, accompanied by the sounds of clothing being hurriedly ripped off.
"Yeah, that's it." Said the male voice, a tone of pleasure in his voice.
"Tea miner dree." Said the female voice, making me check to see if I had my hands over my ears. I didn't.
"Prepare for injection." Said the male voice, his tone wavering.
"T-minus Two-Oooooo." Said the female voice, her pitch increasing.
"Release imminent." Said the male voice, straining.
"T-minus wu-u-u-u-ONE" Screamed the female voice.
"FIRE THE MOTHERLOAD!" Shouted the male voice.

The small pinprick of light exploded. It was bright. Very bright. Remember the torch that gives off dark? Imagine its opposite. Imagine it being switched on. It was that bright. I kept having to close my eyes for the next minute or so until they got used to the light.

The next thing really freaked me out.

The first thing I noticed was that I had suddenly developed nipples, a belly button and, most importantly, a penis. The second thing I noticed was that I was very small and very slimy. The third thing I noticed was that I'd just been smacked on the ass by some guy wearing a surgical gown and glasses for no reason. (I'm pretty sure the glasses were for a reason, it was hitting me that felt unnecessary.)

"Who the fuck do you think you're hitting ya specky cunt!" I yelled. Instead of the words travelling from my brain to my mouth, and being relayed to the person I'm talking to via a perfectly good voicebox, they travelled from my mouth to the ears of anyone within earshot as a loud and prolonged "Wahhhhhhhhhh, Wahhhhhhhhh, Wahhhhhhhhh."

"It's a healthy baby boy." Said the voice of the swine that had just assaulted me in front of several witnesses, as I was handed to a surgical gown wearing bystander and was plonked down onto a towel covered set of old fashioned metal scales.

Several faces appeared above me. Fingers poked and prodded at me, lights were shone in my eyes and things were put into the holes at both ends of my body. I protested by letting loose a volley of verbal assaults at my torturers but once again all the words I tried to say came out as loud Wahhhhhh's.

I was lifted from the scales, along with the towel that had protected me from the cold steel, and
was carried across the room to almost exactly the same place as I had been so recently assaulted at. "Thank fuck for that, they're gonna put me back." I thought.

I was handed to a person who was, for some strange reason, lying down while everyone else, myself not included, stood. The person was warm and smelled beautiful. Small beads of sweat ran off her damp hairline and her eyes shone like the stars that The Grand Whazoo had shown me.

"Holy Fuck!" I yelled. (To everyone else in attendance it sounded like "Wahhhhhhhh," [deep breath] "Wahhhhhhh!" but to me it was "Holy Fuck!" believe me.) Deep in the eyes of this person who now held me in her arms I, once again saw the universe laid out.

"Mother?" I said...


This story is true. Certain details have been fleshed out for dramatic effect and I'm not quite sure if the guy who assaulted me wore glasses for health and safety reasons or if he needed them for medical purposes

(Medical purposes as in he needs them to see better, not medical purposes such as delivering babies. I'm no surgeon but I'm betting you wouldn't want to go delivering babies if you couldn't see exactly what you were doing.)

And when did all this take place?

Exactly 36 years ago today.

Happy birthday to me.