Field Theory by Hadyn Green

6

A Simile Drivin' Man

"He's seven foot tall if he's an inch. Hands, so wide they make a rugby ball look like a rice bubble. His jaw is strong and square, so tough you could build a house with it. And away across the room there", the old man pointed to an empty corner, where network cables hung limply from a space in the wall like some robot glory hole. "That's where the machine sat. All metal and no humour".

The engineers had brought it in with pomp and grandeur, it'll "revolutionise the industry" they said. "No need for frail men any more; this will keep going for years, without the complimentary spring rolls, samosas and beer. All it needs is the numbers".

The huddled group of commentators looked at the shiny beast with fear. It's electrically generated witty banter and rambling stories were infinitely better than anything they could think of. One of the older men, Smithy, began to cry knowing that the days of real men, working with their hands on the airwaves was over.

Then a hand rose from the crowd and kept rising. His arms were as long as highways and his hand had almost reached the ceiling of the broadcast booth before he had to straighten his elbow. In a quiet, gravelly voice that spoke with simplicity and… well simplicity… Murray said: "With respect sir, you don't know what you're saying. I'll beat that machine."

So they lined them up: Murray, whose sports jacket alone had the collected memory of a hundred rugby matches; and opposite him the box, the Monkey. The machine started fast and was fifteen quips in before Murray had even coughed first gaffe.

"But Murray always started slow. I recall back in Ought Two when he said only one off-hand remark during the first half but then come the second half, he was roaring like a Wellington wind", and then for no reason he added, "Yessir!".

The machine kept on, but while it kept pace with the game, Murray roared ahead. "He was throwing off tautologies and meaningless asides like smokestack throwing steam!"

Later folks told that when he was a little boy on his daddy's knee, Murray pointed to a microphone and said: "That microphone's gonna be the death me, Daddy, the mic is gonna be the death of me." And as the final whistle blew Murray whispered his last and fell, the microphone still clutched under his nose.

And now the machine is gone. Murray proved that a man could beat the machine, but it cost him his all. They buried him with the microphone in his hand.

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