I read a book when I was a teenager – and I loved it.
It was The Invisible Man by H.G.Wells, the story of a scientist who makes himself invisible and falls victim to all of the consequences of his actions.
I have recently been watching a science fiction series called Alphas and also enjoying that. Alphas is about a group of people with special abilities, some of which are very desirable. I started thinking about which ability I would like and my mind drifted back in time to when I read the masterpiece by Mr Wells.
I quite fancy possessing the ability to become invisible at will. Unlike the anti-hero in The Invisible Man however, I would like to change a few things.
If you have read The Invisible Man you will know that Wells thought of almost everything when it came to the drawbacks of invisibility.
First, in order to exploit you invisibility, you would have to take off all of your clothes. Unfortunately that would expose you to the elements, especially here in Britain, where the temperature can be quite unpleasant.
Walking around in the rain would leave a film of water over your naked invisible body, thus rendering you partially visible and scaring the hell out of passers-by. And that’s not to mention the dirt that would cling to your feet and hands as you padded down the street. You would look very strange indeed.
Most horrible of all would be the need to eat. Imagine food being visible as you chewed it in your mouth and then swallowed it, being able to watch its progress as it travels down to your stomach. Worse, and something I don’t think Wells wanted to mention, would be the natural process that converts food to energy – and then to waste.
I don’t really want to imagine seeing an invisible man who needs to go to the toilet.
If I were offered the ability to become invisible, I would accept it with the proviso that everything I wore, everything I ate and everything I touched also became invisible. This would enable me, for example, to carry money down the street without making people gasp in astonishment as a wad of ten pound notes floated past them.
Now then – having accepted this ability – what would I do?
I can sense your dread, dear reader, anticipating all sorts of nastiness as the evil part of me rose to the surface. What you have to understand, though, is that deep down I am a nice guy with no desire to perform any acts that are criminal or hurtful (unless it involves humiliation of people who deserve it); what you need to understand most about me is that I am a mischievous imp. Mrs PM does indeed sometimes call me The Imp when I am in the mood to have a bit of fun at her expense.
One of the biggest benefits of invisibility, for me, is the fact that since nobody can see me, I can go anywhere I choose.
This, I think, would be my first way of exploiting my ability.
I would go to London and sneak in Number 10 Downing Street, causing mayhem at the cabinet meetings, mainly to George Osborne. After that I would haunt the Houses of Parliament by throwing water at random politicians as they started pontificating and lying to the public.
My next target would be musicians, although I would only use my invisibility to sneak onto concerts and join my heroes on stage as they performed to an adoring audience.
In a similar way I would sneak into major sporting events and I may even be tempted to administer justice on cheating footballers. I am sure you have seen a Premiership footballer, paid £200,000 a week, tumble into the penalty area as if he has been shot by a sniper from the stands, sometimes gaining a penalty - an unfair reward for his dishonesty. Such cheating would be stamped out by my invisible alter ego. Although I would be tempted to actually injure them, I am not a violent man at all so I would wait until the trainer came on and then assault the cheating wretch with the magic sponge or whatever other painful means I could extract from his bag. I would then pursue the cheat throughout the match, tripping him up at every opportunity, pulling down his shorts, slapping his face or yelling in his ear as the ball approached him.
Other targets for my mischief would be people like Simon Cowell; I would be merciless. Sharon Osbourne threw water over him – for me it would be indelible black ink.
I would of course, become a fly on the wall and spy on people. I have always been nosey and the thought of listening to people having secret meetings or making crucial decisions in a locked room would simply be too irresistible.
Imagine being able to find out what really happens in American politics?
I could combine my love of travel, with my curious nature, to travel free in first class to America, stay in an empty suite in the best hotels and sneak into various government buildings to find out if aliens have really visited planet Earth or whether George W. Bush really did fix the election.
Even more exciting would be the ability to “meet” celebrities. Of course, I would want to avoid revealing my invisibility so I would somehow get close to them when they were meeting ordinary people and then pop back into the visible world armed with an autograph book and a quip.
My travels would not be restricted to just the United States. There are many places worth visiting and invisibility would give me the opportunity to travel freely and in great comfort, eating the best foods and sampling the delights of the elite all for free, without anybody knowing that I was there or ripping them off.
Technically, if I did such a thing, it would be slightly criminal as I would be getting something for nothing, but my moral compass would accept such actions. I mean, after all, if a hotel room is empty, what would be wrong with using the bed? How about walking around an expensive restaurant cherry picking the best food? I would only be eating scraps (just lots of them). And anyway, people tend to leave food anyway. What about sneaking into concerts and sporting events for free? I wouldn’t technically be taking anybody’s seat would I?
I could live with myself.
And I would write a book about my exploits – imagine what a fun read that would be.
So be careful, dear reader; if you suddenly feel a presence next to you when you are out and about, or a bit of food goes missing from your plate when you are in a top class restaurant, or you see a bucket of ink poured over the head of an obnoxious arse – it might be The Invisible Mancunian.
Don’t forget – I love to travel so an Invisible Imp might just turn up in your neighbourhood wherever you live.
Rest assured, though, that I will not do anything nasty – mischievous but fun.
Over to you: what would YOU do if you suddenly gained the power of invisibility?