The air was stifled. This tin shack was slowly cooking it’s contents, which included a dozen or so unhappy Englishmen and a desperate Italian.
“Ahhh here man, what is this shite?!”
The statement was quiet, but audible enough to inform everyone of his boredom. His not so dulcet Geordie tones were carried on the stifling air. Everyone looked. Everyone of his team mates giggled, bar the manager and the tour guide. The tour guide looked annoyed. This was more in part due to the amassing number of years on the planet, both in the sun and fighting gravity, than actual annoyance. Her dearly departed husband had developed problems with his nerves, always believing he was in for a bollocking when their eyes met. Scotty, the vocalist of this exclamation didn’t care about her sun bleached, gravitational drooped facial structure, nor her dearly departed, anxiety ridden husband. He was just a bit pissed off. And righty so. He wasn’t alone either. They were all thinking it. To be fair to them all, this exhibition was a utter shite.
The museum wasn’t on any tourist maps, nor was it immediately obvious from the outside that it was in fact a museum. It was a large wood and tin warehouse, with all the function over grace styling famed by World War 2 architects. From the outside you could see the outlines of fences and outposts that once stood in the rocky crops of the Badlands. The once prestigious, yet secretive, military research facility had been purposely built in the arse end of nowhere, South Dakota. It had been the epicentre of ground breaking research into super soldiers and world beating athletes, before abruptly closing down and almost drifting out of existence in the early 80’s. It had but one Trip Advisor review which read, ‘Bad coffee, 2*’. Despite this, their manager, eager for anything that would help prevent another relegation battle and stave off his impending p45, decide they were going.
Said manager, Claudio by name, had sneakily arranged for his Gateshead F.C team to do a training camp in America, to improve the squad for the coming season. The Crafty Italian’s purpose was finding this centre. He came across it on a Instagramer’s conspiracy page. This page, however, also claimed that U.S president Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un are the same person, cleverly disguised with different shades of fake tan and Just for Men.
Well, Stranger things have happened, thought Claudio.
When Claudio announced the day long tip North from Sunny Los Angeles to the Badlands, there was much disgruntlement among the team. The team seemed quite content to just sun bathe and knock up a few of the local girls, ideally at the same time.
The journey there would be enough to make most sane people get off the bus, walk into the nearest undertakers and climb into a coffin. This is unless you had really bad piles which needed to be bumped back in. Because bumped they would be. This road in the badlands had more holes than the British Governments competitive Corporatation tax regime, which as we know, the word competitive in this sentence means absent. Absent also, was most of the road. Still though, anything that gives you an edge, thought Claudio. Their coach driver, who preferred to be called a executive destination agent, had wanted to turn back. Fearful his coach (destination delivery unit) would become filler for some of these potholes. Claudio insisted they press onwards, much to the displeasure of everyone’s bottoms until finally, they arrived.
Claudio, who seemingly struggles at the best of times with his English, piped up in defence of the tour insisting that they could be something here to help them in their careers. Looking around at the rusting pieces of equipment and dated dusty books, the team stood amazed. Not because all the crap in here was about as much use to the modern game of football as a paralegal is to you getting your mortgage through on time. But rather before now, they all believed Claudio’s English was limited to ‘get the ball’, ‘fuck off’, and ‘4-4-2’. Coincidentally similar to the English used by parents watching their kids play on a Saturday morning.
‘It’s a bit wank though isn’t it gaffa’, muttered Scotty to Claudio when they were nearing the end of the tour. The expression was seemingly lost on on him, but Scotty thought Claudio was probably thinking something similar, in Italian. Claudio wander off to contemplate his fate.
‘Nothing you like?’ Said a voice from a unnoticed doorway in the corner of the room. It was the unfortunately annoyed face of the tour guide, in an now almost suspect German accent. Looking at her now, Scotty noticed she was even older than he first thought, she was like a walking fossil. He wasn’t the first person to wonder if she was actually dead. For some time rumour had circulated that she had died, but being fed up of lying in a box all day, dug herself out and became a tour guide, like many other dead people before her.
“Boredom is often the sign of a great mind,” the tour guide followed up with, staring intently at Scotty. Scotty was flattered by the comment, he’s always thought of himself as being a great thinker, although he chose not to disclose the fact he could probably spell Dundee twice with his GSCE grades.
“The secret to being happier lies in here,” said the tour guide, pointing to the the door behind her.
The horny old bat, thought Scotty, giving the idea some seriously contemplation. The fossil then walked off in the other direction, leaving Scotty with the kind of conflicting emotions only found in teenage lads between 16 and 19 years; disappointment and relief.
The door creaked open slightly and the dim light struggled to illuminate the dusty descending stair case. Having seen one to many horror films, Scotty’s grey matter was screaming a big ‘fuck no’ and he was about to close the door, when he heard the faintest sound. A cracking old electronic tune with the distinct repetitiveness that could only be a computer game. So, without further thought, off went Scotty down the stairs, almost taking the door off it’s hinges in search of another form of instant gratification. His brain wondered if it was possible to list Scotty on Purple Bricks and find another body to occupy.
The stairs creaked and moaned with all the irritability of arthritic old man in the morning. The air, stuffy with dust from the generations before, suddenly stirred into life and hitched rides on the air currents brought down with Scotty. The light from upstairs raided down the staircase into the vast darkness at the bottom but yielded quickly. Outlines of objects played tricks with Scott’s eyes as he fumbled his hands across the walls in search of a light switch. Old chairs seemed to jump out of nowhere with one sending him careering to the ground, knocking him unconscious in the process. This was just as well, as prior to losing consciousness, Scotty emitted a terrified scream so high pitched, to hear it, you would have though someone, somewhere, had just stood on a sleeping dog. Had that been attributed to him, he would have had to retire from life due to the ribbing he would have relieved from his teammates.
Coming to a short time later and lying spread eagle on the floor, Scotty wondering if he was about to soddomised by whatever had attacked him. He then found himself wondering how he would respond if the sodomiser politely requested he squeal like a pig, like in that film. A TV suddenly tuned on though and put an end to the thoughts of buggery. It scattered a dim green light through the darkness from which the dust seemed to dance around, the electronic jingle was back. Scotty could now see his attacker was a kitsch velvet dinning chair. The shame of it.
Having uprighted himself from his crumpled heap, Scotty made his way towards the tv. There was another kitsch velvet dining chair in front of the TV. The TV, as deep as it was tall, was perched on a teak sideboard. Resting next to it, a small box. The box was grey, familiar and memorable. On closer inspection it was non other than a first generation Nintendo. ‘Result’ thought Scotty. There was an old cartridge game poking out of it. Scotty pulled out the cartridge for closer inspection. Quantum Leap was the name of the game, not one he was familiar with, but he vaguely remembered the TV show with that lad Sam someone or other. Looking about, his mild concussion fogging his decision making, Scotty exclaimed, “What’s the worse that can happen!” He popped in the game, booted it up and took a seat. Had Scotty had paid closer attention, or even just found a light switch, he would have noticed that this Nintendo was connected to a massive grey, Cold War relic of a machine at the back of the room. The machine clunked into life. The banging and clattering of old pistons was deafening. They heaved and forced movement into the rusting steal clogs that has once had been as lubed as the playboy mansion, now rusted with the arid dryness of Gandi’s unattended sandals. The grinding and banging caused Scotty’s sphincter to tighten so much he had no choice but to stand up to prevent himself being turned inside out.
On the TV screen a large pixilated cartoon was waving to come on in.
PRESS START, loomed on the screen.
Conclusion in control, Scotty pressed start. The Screen flickered for a few moments and then, with all the plagiarised visual effect from the film Tron, Scotty was turned into strips of light and suck into an electronic blackhole to the delightfully reminiscent sound of an internet dial up tone.
Moments later, Scotty rematerialised to find himself bollock naked in a glass tube. Soft blue lighting give a calming glow to an otherwise sinister laboratory. A woman stood in front of him.
As elegantly and as calm as Scotty could be in this situation, he said
“Here man, what the fuck, ye draft cunts. Where am a? Ye kna who I am. Get me oot of this tube or I’ll fuckin knack the lot of ya!”
With that out of the way and indeed with no-one responding, Scotty took in the room and noticed the woman look at him.
Now feeling a little exposed he sheepishly muttered, “What ye looking at eh?”
“Hello, my name is Twiggy” said the woman.
It was of course not the real Twiggy, the London model and self styled ambassador for the UK, but more a physical representation of her. Twiggy explained that her image had been burned deep with Scott’s genes and this is why she was there, she was to be his guide.
“Hadaway an’ shite! Guide for what?” Demanded Scotty.
The two things Scotty had yet to understand was that his father had and spend most his 20’s and 30’s wanking over Twiggy and was thinking about her the night Scotty was conceived.
‘It’s probably why you like more mature women”, Twiggy later explained.
Scotty protested, he was no Wayne Rooney.
The second thing Scotty failed to realise was that he was now trapped in the the Quantum experiment. An experiment to put the greatest minds on the planet into those in great peril; in order to make decisions and achieve things their own mind wasn’t even capable of grasping. It was designed to help make the world a better place, put a brilliant mind into someone, somewhere, who could win wars, or prevent world end events or to stop celebrity pedo’s making it beyond the 80’s. Instead, sadly, the experiment had been highjacked by old scientists, politicians and pedo’s who wanted to live forever. Thus, it was abruptly shut down and left to rust into forgottenness.
“Are you ready?” Twiggy asked.
If Scotty was confused about what he was to be ready for, then his mind was about to be blown out of this tube as he, and everything about him, was once again turned into an scintillating electronic light, then sucked into a blackhole. Internet dial up tone jingle to boot.
Everything was now black. Twiggy was speaking.
“Some say that Jumanji, Tron and quantum leap were all written by those who made it of out the Quantum experiment. Those who bettered the things they became. Many never did and live out there lives in whatever soul and time period they occupied. Some were happy about this, deliberately failing so they could live out lives a rockstars, astronauts or Honey Badgers. Others met a not so happy end as Dung Beatles, farmed salmon or country singers.
“You must better the life of that which you occupy, for both them and the world they inhabit. Succeed and you will move on, fail, and that will be you forever. I ask again, are you ready?”
“Eh?! What the fuck are ye on aboot man?”
“Good, then we’ll start,” replied twiggy.