I’ve probably watched you. Remember when you were in your bedroom and you tripped up trying to pull on your socks? I saw that. When you got in the shower too soon and stood huddled in the corner to avoid the cold water? You looked ridiculous, I laughed. When you tried to take the pie out the oven without gloves and dropped it? Remember that? I do.
I probably know all your saddest secrets. The faces you pull in the mirror, trying to figure out how to be sexy. Where you keep your diary or your stash of money. The TV crap you consume in secret and tell no one about. I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t unique. The reason I know you is because I’ve watched enough people to know that you’re all the same. I’ve seen the hidden face of the human race and it truly is the face of a nincompoop. This isn’t cynicism, I’m not having a bad day; I know. I’ve watched.
I became invisible the day I died. the afterlife isn’t quite the predetermined thing it’s made out to be. There are options. I didn’t pay too much attention to the form, once I spotted the Be Invisible option I was sold. For the first few hundred years all I did was watch. The human condition is a sorry one. Technology grows ever more complicated, but common sense? That never changes. And it started to get irritating. About the same time as my ability to interfere manifested, the never-changing stupidity of my ex-species began to really irk me.
The lottery, Valentine’s Day, friendship cliques, one-up-man-ship, fashion. When you no longer get to play these games you realise how laughable they are, how much time and space is taken up with the futile.
So I began to play a game of my own.
It was just toying really, I happened on an inept young fool and my patience snapped. He couldn’t get anything right. He broke his new kettle because he couldn’t work out how to press the button to open the lid. He bumped into the TV, snapping a wheel off and then couldn’t work out how to fix it, so he watched TV on the wonk. He never figured out how the storage heaters work; they aren’t that complicated, but no matter how many times he read the instructions he got it wrong. He embodied all that was pathetic about the human race, so I began to play.
His books were all in alphabetical order, so I shifted them about a bit. When he was at work, I put his toothbrush on his pillow and bunched up his towels into the shape of sleeping figure in his bed. I smeared his window with butter and I wrote “Idiot!” in the condensation in his shower. It took him a surprisingly long time to notice my interference, but when he did he assumed quite naturally that he was going mad. His frantic calls to his mum were some of the funniest conversations that I’ve ever listened into. Made all the more delicious by knowing I caused that.
So I carried on. I turned all his books upside down. I squirted washing up liquid around the rim of his toilet, so it frothed every time he flushed. Every day when he left the house, I put a small line of crisps inside his door, so that they crunches when he got home and stepped inside. I painted his toenails while he slept.
It was a good few months before his hinges started to become properly loose. Nearly a year before they fell off altogether. It happened while he was running away from the small collection of insects I had put in his bed. It sounds like a trivial thing, but by then I had push his mind to breaking point and it only took a tiny nudge to finish the job. He ran out of the front door, into the traffic and got run over by a bus.
And I thought to myself Well now, this is fun, why didn’t I think of this before?