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Ignorminious And The Phantom Email

Posted on Thursday 4th January 2007 at 00:00
This post is probably best read with Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (ie the theme from The Exorcist) playing in the background, which is what I'm listening to as I write it.


It was a dark and stormy night, and all around the lights flickered as the power lines swung about in the wind outside. I'd just finished reading my emails and was about to close my browser when I saw a ghostly sight in the corner of my screen. A black number one stood silently beside the folder list, adjacent to the link to my Inbox. This was puzzling to say the least, since I'd just read my emails and so there should be no unread items.

At first I was scared to check again, but curiosity got the better of me, and so, with one hand closed around the handle of a baseball bat, I stuck my head round the corner of the window and looked to see what was in there. I blinked. I looked again. Still nothing. There they were, the emails I'd just read, lined up neatly, 15 to the page, but not a single new one.

I could almost feel the blood draining from my face and I had to grab the scroll bar for support as my legs gave way beneath me. The scroll bar did not hold me however and with a rush of cold, musty air I fell into page two. Here the story was the same. Many familiar emails, some only a day old, but no unread messages.

I was looking for something to grab hold of and pull myself back up to page one with, but I slipped yet further and fell through pages 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, landing with an unpleasent bump in page 8. Here the light was poor, but I could just make out a layer of dust forming over all these old messages. Even so, it was quite clear that there were no unopened messages here.

While fumbling around in the dark I happened across the link that displayed all the messages at once. This proved to be a long list of over 4,100 messages, which I gradually scrolled through, trying not to allow my eyes to become blurred by the lines and lines of black names and blue subjects.

This was a few days ago now, and I have since given up searching for the phantom email. It is out there somewhere, but where I know not. The number one I fear may remain with me, hanging over this mystery until I can find myself an old priest and a young priest, or else get Outlook installed again so that I can have a better look through my emails than Webmail will allow me.

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