Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Stag Night

  One of the drawbacks of keeping fit is familiarity with one's personal limits; when old age comes a-calling, it's immediately obvious that the peak of the mountain of ability is being eroded. Speaking for myself, it doesn't really apply because of my near-immortality (I use a combination of distributed intelligence, nano-engineering and hyperwave backups). Well... actually, I do have a good few little pains that bother me from time to time - but fortunately they all happen to be human beings, and can generally be relieved by some combination of diplomacy, persuasion, witty riposte, blackmail, actual bodily harm with a blunt instrument, disintegration or (in extreme cases if I'm feeling spiteful) forced viewing of Reality TV.

  That said, I do enjoy a good work-out and can often be found jogging under water. The English Channel is getting rather crowded with shipping though, and the noise can be off-putting. Sometimes I look for my exercise therapy elsewhere: Australia is rather nice because of the clear water and wonderful scenery, but fending off sharks can be irritating, and this has happened once or twice. In case you were wondering, my preferred method is to engage my cloaking device so that I look like Roy Scheider - then they swim away sharpish. Ha, just kidding! I actually just punch them on the nose.

  So, what's new? Ah yes, the whole "door in the tree" episode: some craziness occurred last night and I believe it may be relevant. I was working on my design for a new rubidium-based junct... actually, maybe I won't discuss that. Anyway, I was working; and all of a sudden I heard a gentle tapping on the window. I thought I had imagined it, but then it came again, and again. As you would expect, I crept slowly over to the curtains and then suddenly flung them wide and glared through the glass, hoping to terrify whoever was playing such a prank. There was nobody there, but I could still hear the tapping noise.

  I opened the window, and would you believe it? There was a stag beetle trying to get through the glass. Chuckling at my reaction, I examined the determined creature, who was head-butting the lighted wall of silicates repeatedly, falling back a little way down the sill, then trying again. I was about to close the window and leave him to it, when I suddenly froze. I had noticed what looked like a small antenna on the beetle's back. Hastily returning to my computer, I looked up the species online and found no such piece of anatomy. Clearly, I was being bugged...

  I got back to the open window just in time to see the beetle lift off and fly through the night in the direction of the very same tree that had the door in its trunk! This is just too much of a coincidence to be chance alone. I need to investigate that tree again.