Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Satan’s microwave

Inspired by Marcus’ recent reference to an evil pink oven, I thought I’d recount the adventures of Satan’s Microwave.

While Marissa and I were sharing a flat in Canberra, we had a lot of half-derelict appliances. It was the first time we’d each moved out of home. My recently-widowed grandfather had also decided to move to Canberra and dispense with a lot of furniture and appliances – to me, that is.

Come to think of it, every appliance I inherited bore some spectacular inherent defect. (The video went kaput early on and its rewind button hadn’t worked to begin with.) Also just about all of the appliances came in fake 70s brown wood veneer – the type that looks like Contact™ school-book-covering material. Even the two “ugly chairs” (which were very comfortable) were that brown.

Still, by far the worst of my dodgy semi-functional appliances with bodgy brown Contact™ adhesive fake wood veneer, was Satan’s Microwave.

I think my parents picked it up for $20 at a home and contents auction. No-one wanted it because when you opened the door no light came on. My parents bought it and replaced the defunct light bulb.

This thrifty act did not cure all its defects, however.

Sure it worked at first, but slowly it became more and more erratic, its 70s LCD screen suddenly coming alive with random patterns like a computer that’s just achieved self-awareness in a forgotten 80s sci-fi thriller. Then its screen would go dark, and silent and sulk.

Sometimes it would work again briefly if turned on and off at the wall. This repeated shock therapy, however, gave it some kind of stroke and even when functioning (in terms of heating things up) its LCD display continued its silent, idiot, hieroglyphic gibberings. Then it would cease all functioning for a while.

I did the only sane thing, I left town for a summer job in Sydney.

Marissa would call to regale me with tales of my Evil microwave, how it was ruining her life, and taking up too much space in the kitchen. (It was the size of a small European car.)

But around this time it became actually demonically possessed. It refused to work at all, but the LCD display resumed its alien signalling. And a spider moved into the inside of the control panel. You could occasionally see an eerie rippling across the eerie green flickering hieroglyphs of the display as the spider marched over the liquid crystals.

Obviously, this radioactive mutant spider was using the microwave to communicate with Cthullian powers from Beyond.

It was Satan’s microwave.

Finally Marissa told me its number was up. She would replace it at the Christmas sales while I was in Sydney. Disposing of the hideous half-tonne object was to be my responsibility.

Proving its demonic powers, the microwave heard the threat and resumed perfect and normal functioning throughout the sales period.

The collapsed again, never to utter another eerie green flicker.

So I persuaded two friends, editors of the student paper, that they’d receive far more by way of voluntary contributions if they had a novelty contributors box. They took the microwave and parked it outside the office. It took two of them to get it down the stairs to our flat.

But at least I didn’t have to pay for it to be exorcised and carted away.

The faux-wood panelled blender I got from my grandfather, though, is still going a treat and makes great smoothies.

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