The five Beasts all high-five. Then they step back in a line, all in character—hands on hips or by their side, or arms folded—heroes on a mission. Amber steps forward, presses the lift button, then turns to the others with his forefinger to his lips. “From now until we get downstairs into the server farm, let’s stay silent,” he instructs. “There may be security guards.”
“Oh boy. No, in that case I think I’d better wait here,” says Shigem.
“Why?” asks Evelyn.
“Because whenever I have to be silent, I get hiccups. It doesn’t happen straight away, but as soon as the need for silence arrives, so do the hiccups. I feel them forming an orderly queue, until they’re all bunched up in the upper part of my trunk. That’s a little traumatic in itself, because I have quite a sensitive trunk, as you’d imagine—but the main danger is even worse: just when the room is dead quiet, a violent hiccup pops up, and I have to take aim and stifle it with the right timing, or else it’s super-loud. OK, so that’s all very well, so far, but then all I can do is count the seconds until the next one. And soon enough, I just know that some hiccup is gonna manage to get past me—and everyone’ll turn round and stare, and I’ll go all pink and have to run out of the room and find upside-down water before it happens again. Oh god, being me is such a constant trauma, you’ve no idea. So no, I’d better be brave and wait here.”
“It’s true,” chips in Kim.
“Er, OK,” says Evelyn. “Sorry, I had no idea you have to go through all that. Well … oh, Jesus wept. For fuck’s sake, get down there with the rest of us and stop being such a wuss.”
“The pain, the anguish—the endless poetry,” says Kim.
“Shh!” warns Amber fiercely. “Get it together please.”
For more about "The Beasts of Electra Drive" by Rohan Quine, see
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To watch any of the 120 complete mini-chapters of the novel’s video-book format (for which this little video snippet here is just a teaser), see
For links to all of these short teasers, see
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