The story so far: Chiseled McEdifice, veteran space marine and vampire hunter, found himself trapped on the hidden fifth (arguably sixth) floor of an office building surrounded by space vampires. Rather than let his friends the alien Qzrrzxxzq and ScanScan the photocopier man be killed, McEdifice surrendered to the space vampires. In an occult ritual McEdifice was then swallowed whole by a giant floating space vampire head…
It was time to clean up after a hectic Halloween at Felapton Towers. Mr Atomic was in his element, dusting off cobwebs, cleaning away spooky letters written in fake blood, removing disembodied hands from the garden – jobs he’d been putting off for months but ones he felt were necessary before tackling the bigger question of how to remove the Halloween decorations. He’d nearly finished with the poltergeist haunted wall when sanguine words began to once again seep out of the plaster…
YOU MISSED A BIT
…they said, with a handy arrow pointing at a secondary stain near the wainscotting.
“That is not actually helpful,” remonstrated the robotic cleaning device.
Camestros was out on the lawn burning a huge bonfire of Halloween confectionery. On reflection, keeping the gates locked and the security system on had possibly deterred trick-or-treaters. “Something to note for next year,” he thought to himself, “and maybe switch off the cloaking device and maybe we should get ourselves released from the curse that puts us 2 seconds and half an inch to one side of reality.”
With the fire safely consuming the dangerously sugary sweets Camestros retreated inside to see how Timothy was going with his All Saints Day cleaning activities.
“How are you going with your All Saints Day cleaning activities?” he asked as he stepped into the South Library.
“You know,” replied the verbose feline, “that there is no such ‘Ancient Folk Tradition’ as All Saints Day cleaning activities?”
“Really? Because Mr Atomic put forward a very convincing case…” replied Camestros with a hint of doubt in his voice.
“You will believe anything robots tell you and he knows it,” replied replied Timothy, “It was nothing but a ruse to trick us into tidying up!”
“Well I for one endorse the concept,” replied replied replied Camestros, “After all you made up International Tim Day, Catmas and The Feast of Saint Felix the Squirrel Killer.”
“It is a DISTRACTION you fool! A distraction from our important work!” replied replied replied replied Timothy, slamming his tiny fist-like paw on the desk in front of him. “I need some help from you with this project and you are off doing who knows what for that mechanical fusspot!”
“I was burning what Americans call ‘candy’ in a pre-emptive bonfire night.”
“Ah, yes – you miss out every year because pets must be hidden on bonfire night. It is an annual British festival of fireworks and municipal arson based on 17th-century anti-Catholicism and remembrance of a time some guy tried to blow up parliament but with syncretic elements of pagan pre-winter festivals. Also traditionally children beg for money by demonstrating to adults that they have made an effigy of a man who was tortured to death which they will burn later. It is very traditional.”
“Now who is making stuff up?” said the cat skeptically.
“On reflection Catmas sounds more plausible.” agreed Camestros. “So what help do you need?”
“Look! I want these letters to be really small but the stupid program will only let me pick a font-size of 8 as the smallest!” explained Timothy.
“I can’t help noticing the letters fill the screen currently.”
“Well yes. I’ve zoomed in because I can’t read a font size smaller than 16 and no, I would not ‘look cute’ in glasses and you are NOT taking me to an optician.”
“Well that’s Catmas ruined for me again. Anyway, the 8 point is just the smallest option on that drop down. You can type in any whole number in the box. See, I’ll type in 1 point. See? Really tiny now!”
“Wow! That is tiny! But not tiny enough I think.”
“Well how small do you need it?”
“According to my research about one billionth of an imperial yard.”
“Well your standard word processing software isn’t going to manage that! We’ll need more extreme measures to get those kinds of sizes. We’d need an instrument that can both manipulate matter at that kind of scale AND image it so we can see what we are doing. Basically we’d need a Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscope.”
“Do we have one?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Have you checked the garage?”
“We would have noticed if we had one in the garage.”
“Can we get one?”
“Heck, why not! Put you adventuring hat on Timothy and let’s go get us some hi-tech hardware!”
“Phew! That was quite an adventure!” said Timothy applying a bandage to the burnt bits of his tail.
“Why yes! I suppose we should have realized that the gentleman was a conman trying to use us to burgle a secret government research facility!” reflected Camestros wiping a kind of green goo from his boots.
“True, but if we hadn’t have broken in we wouldn’t have uncovered the plot by a sentient gastropod to open an Einstein-Rosen bridge to the Toothpaste Dimension.” explained Timothy
“And we still got a microscope out of the whole deal!” said Camestros looking on the bright side.
“Now to business!” said Timothy triumphantly.
“Hmm, I feel like I should have asked you something about all this before hand…”
“Really? Like what?”
“Well I guess I never did think to ask WHY you wanted to write in such a tiny font.”
“Well, it is November and the next chapter of McEdifice Returns is due and I thought I’d try that Nano-Wrimo thing.”
“So I looked up ‘nano’ and discovered how small I had to write…” explained Timothy.
“It’s an acronym Tim.” said Camestros.
“I thought you said it was a microscope?” puzzled Timothy.
“No NaNoWriMo is a sort of acronym for National Novel Writing Month.” explained Camestros, “look you can read about it here: https://nanowrimo.org/ ”
Timothy read the rules carefully and then announced, “Well that’s just daft! Every month is novel writing month for me, the most prolific and bestest writer in the world!”
“So, does that mean you have the next chapter of McEdifice Returns written?” asked Camestros with all the patience of Saint Felix the Squirrel Killer.
“Ah, just give them any old stuff,” said the world’s greatest Science Fiction editor, “I’m off to engrave rude slogans on a tiny fragment of graphite!”
Tune in next time for, I don’t know, a plot or something?