I’m actually worried that we might get kicked out of Marks & Spencer. The security here is top notch and, despite the fact that we’re not actually doing anything wrong, we are drawing a lot of unwanted attention from the other customers in the restaurant. I guess it’s because we’re being quite noisy.
‘The blonde guy! The blonde guy!’
‘NO! Go for the old man, Jay!’
‘You said THE BLONDE GUY!’
‘I changed it to the old man!’
‘He’s weak, Jay: he’s WEAK!’
My buddy (and fellow blogger) Jaylord is sitting next to me with two fingers held to the side of his head. He’s concentrating all his willpower and mental focus on random people in the Marks & Spencer store at Westwood Cross: at least, the ones we can see from our table in the restaurant.
Mostly importantly of all, Jay is holding onto the lead of the Joystick I’ve given him, an old Spectrum one from the eighties.
The idea I’ve had is quite simple. Jay will channel all his focus on individual people, and I will then try to control those people with the joystick. We’re testing out our god-given psychic abilities to make a connection with people using just the power of our minds (and a Spectrum joystick).
The NOISE is coming from the fact that I’m shouting a lot and tapping the fire button on the joystick frantically…..because it ISN’T the fire button. I’ve mentally decided that it is – in fact – the ATTRACTION button…..so in order to get the people to approach us, I’m hitting the button REALLY hard and trying to move them as if they’re characters in a computer game….but Jay is now getting upset.
‘Dave – people are looking over here. Big time.’
‘Just keep focusing! I moved the old man just then!’
‘You DIDN’T move him: he was on his way over here anyway! Look: he’s finished trying on the shades and now he’s coming into the restaurant!’
‘I did that! I’m moving the joystick TOWARDS us. He’s coming to me like a fish on a hook: I’m reeling him in! Look! He’s moving really fast because I’ve got the setting on AUTO!’
‘You’re NOT controlling that old man!’
‘I totally AM! Just watch for – oh, no – he’s going to hit the table! I’ll try to make him jump….’
It doesn’t work. At the very last minute, he veers off in another direction entirely and heads for the toilets.
I lose my temper at this point, and smack my hand on the table.
‘You’re NOT concentrating, Jay!’
‘Me? Did you ever think that maybe your CRAPPY IDEA IS JUST RIDICULOUS AND DOESN’T WORK?’
‘It DOES work. I saw it on Derren Brown.’
‘That’s a LIE: this is all you. Why did you change to the old man anyway? You were moving that blonde guy around just fine!’
‘Yeah, but I was going MENTAL on the button, and he just glared over at us, as if we were crazy or something.’
‘Dave – you’re sitting in M&S hammering a Spectrum Joystick, and I’m holding the end of the bit that should be plugged into a computer. People are giving us funny looks because you ARE crazy and I must be crazy for even being here. I know you’re bored but for f*ck’s sake.’
I roll my eyes.
‘Let’s just pick someone else, dude: let’s give it ONE more go.’
‘Fine…but then we’re done. Okay?’
We both look around the restaurant until our eyes alight on a woman working behind the counter.
She looks over at us and smiles, politely.
‘Jay-‘ I whisper.
‘I see her.’
‘Let’s do this.’
Maintaining eye contact with the girl, who only glances away from us briefly to serve a customer, I begin to hit the fire button. Hard.
After a few seconds, I’m really going hell for leather on it.
I can FEEL Jay’s mental energy charging through the restaurant.
It’s SO exciting.
‘Keep hitting the button!’
‘I am! My bloody finger is killing me! Just keep concentrating!’
‘This is it, now!’
‘Wait for it-‘
Continuing to smash the button, I pull the joystick towards me and the woman actually COMES OUT FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER AND BEGINS TO WALK TOWARDS US.
‘I told you, Jaylord!’
‘This is EPIC!’
‘Here she comes!’
She walks in a straight line, only once sidestepping a table (when I move the joystick left) in her journey towards us. She’s definitely heading right at us.
‘I know! I KNOW!’
Suddenly, she’s right in front of the table.
‘Here she IS, Jay! Here she actually IS!’
I finally stop hitting the button and collapse back into my seat, breathing heavily and looking up at her.
‘Hi! I’m Dave, and this is Jay: is everything okay?’
She maintains her smile, but the humour is now gone from it. She leans over and whispers: ‘I’m going to have to ask you to leave the cafe. Two people have complained, and you’re making an awful lot of noise.’
I want to explain, I want to make her understand that we’re not weirdos, but I can just about get my breath. I’m absolutely exhausted.
‘Hold on!’ I manage, as she begins to walk away. ‘Excuse me?’
She turns back. ‘Yes?’
‘Did you come over here by yourself, just then….or did you feel – sort of – compelled to come over?’
She folds her arms, looks down at her feet and then shakes her head, very sadly. ‘You’re not controlling people with the joystick. I’m afraid it’s a really, REALLY stupid idea.’
I want to say something else, but I can feel Jay’s angry stare burning into my neck.
This is all my fault.
We calmly collect our stuff and head for the escalators. I’m a bit disappointed on the way down, when I spot the old man coming out of the toilets and Jay refuses to help me move him around a bit.
On the Spectrum was originally written by Davey Stone in June 2014. If you enjoyed ‘On the Spectrum’, please follow the blog for more content.