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CISCWorld – Mirror, Mirror ...

"Hooray, yaar! I've found it! I've found it!"

These were the words that interrupted the proceedings of the gathering in front of the PIT and a good thing it was too because events had taken it upon themselves to run away with the proceedings and things were at the stage where somebody was bound to get hurt (and it wouldn't have been the Chancellor whose name by the way happened to be Certil Hoggs).

The crowd paused in the action of cowering in abject terror (reminding one of how a rowdy, lustily cheering crowd of football fans becomes meek as lambs as soon as half time is signaled) and craned their necks to see what all the commotion was about while Chancellor Hoggs hit the pause button on the spell that he was brewing up to transform the crowd into some horrible and unnamable entity.

The source of all the noise or rather, the sorcerer, appeared in the square at that moment. He was a wet looking individual as if he'd been forcibly evicted from his bath for non-payment of fees and seemed to be oblivious of the crowd gathered in the square as he ran towards the gates of the PIT showing a turn of speed that would have brought tears of joy to the eyes of a man trying to catch a bus. The Chancellor stared hard at the runner for a moment - he was just trying to gauge whether he'd been drinking - and then asked:

"What is it this time, Logi? Don't tell me you've discovered how to move the world?"

"No but I have discovered how to make the world smaller!"

"You have? I thought a shrinking spell of that magnitude wasn't possible - the mental strain would just pop your brain out of your skull?"

"No you id … err … I mean … uh … your Chancellorship, I was speaking metaphorically!"

"You know I don't speak foreign languages!"

"Arrrrrghh! It was a figure of speech! I just meant that the boundaries of the world had shrunk because of my new discovery!"

"Now hold on there for a moment, young man! I may be old but I am not stupid! How could the boundaries of the world shrink without the world becoming smaller?"

"Oh for MCP's sake! Can't you give it a rest? What I meant to say was that my new discovery will make far more of the world accessible to people than was previously possible!"

A light seemed to go on in the Chancellor's head and you could almost see the excess luminosity spilling over from his eyes like water from a fat lady's bath.

"Oh I see! What's this discovery of yours anyway?" asked the Chancellor.

"You know the research I've been doing on magic mirrors?"

"Oh yes, mirror mirror on the wall and all that stuff …"

"Yes, yes but this was a more advanced usage of thaumaturgy! I have been experimenting with the transmission of pictures from a central transmitter to several receiving mirrors and have been able to achieve the successful results! Isn't that wonderful?"

"This indeed is great news my boy! We might be able to use your discovery in our own development of the computers that we are researching."

The word seemed to be a signal that brought the crowd back from whatever dimension they'd been transported to by the appearance of Logi and the subsequent events - they surged forward again, shouting, threatening and ruining perfectly good vegetable by putting them to improper uses.

Logi looked up in alarm at the angry crowd moving towards him like a group of mummies confronting their embalmer after discovering that they had been wrapped in inferior quality cloth and then looked behind him to discover that the big gates of the Institute were closed tight. He seemed to be searching for inspiration in the face of this dire threat to life and limb and seemed to find it too as he seemed to be in no hurry to seek an avenue of escape. Instead, he stood his ground before the advancing crowd and appeared to be rehearsing something that he wanted to say. Then, just as the vanguard of the mob reached him, he raised his hand and assumed a commanding pose (at least as commanding a pose as a wizard who is stooped from peering at grimoirs of magical runes day in and day out could hope to achieve) and spoke, "Friends, citizens and Chancellor! Lend me your ears! Err … actually, I don't need your ears - especially if they haven't been cleaned recently - keep them with you but listen to me carefully, OK? What I have discovered today is something of great significance to the whole of the CISCWorld! Let me demonstrate!"

So saying, Logi reached inside his robe and the crowd instinctively drew back in case he was reaching for some talisman or amulet with which to enchant them but what the wizard brought forth was a simple mirror. Everybody craned forward to see what marvelous feat of necromancy was to be performed right in front of their eyes, and as is usual with such mobs, those at the back began pushing the ones in front of them in an effort to see better. A couple of dwarves who'd been caught up in the mad rush towards the University like flotsam carried along by an armada now crawled under and around the legs of the humans to end up at the front of the crowd.

Logi Jonn (for such was the name of the wizard) paused dramatically - he'd dreamed of becoming an actor when he was a young man till somebody informed him that actors were supposed to display a range of emotions, not just those belonging to a dead piece of wood - and spoke in a ringing tone of voice[1], "Behold! The invention which is to change the face of the world!"

One of the dwarves looked quizzically at the wizard, "A mirror? What are you going to do? Get the world to take a look at itself?"

"Precisely! That is exactly what I am going to do! I am going to let the world see itself - look at the mirror and you will see what I mean!"

Everybody present - man[2], dwarf, golem and troll - looked at the mirror and seemed to fall under a spell. The mirror kept on showing picture after picture and scene after scene in a never ending sequence and the crowd stood there, gazing in fascination at the mirror - the phenomena known as the idiot box, or rather, the idiot mirror in this case - had arrived in the CISCWorld.

The crowd would have gone on watching the mirror if something hadn't happened to drag their attention screaming and kicking away from the magical mirror.

[1] In another world - one where Alexander Graham Bell's wonderful invention, the telephone, was known - one might have wondered how a human could have a ringing tone of voice unless he had a telephone for a mouth, but all things being possible on the CISC, it is not a matter to ponder upon.

[2] Better make it "person" for those who are politically correct.

Copyright © 2005-2008 Fahim Farook