A Prole Snaps

by John D. Hill


It is said that that day began like any other in the office. But no one could ever have imagined the horror of what was about to unfurl on that hot August morning. The day that a prole snapped.

Prole M150858 was much like any other prole in the office. He hated his job. He hated the Company. He hated the office politics and all the other things proles hated about working for a big, greedy, financial monster. Above all he hated the system. The pay was shite too. As a human being he was a quietly spoken pleasant man with few close friends, but the friends he had were good ones. He was polite and a good worker and his meter sheet was oftentimes one to envy. He was popular with all levels of fellow proles and remained one of the most reasonable fellows you could ever wish to meet in day's march.

The event in question began the same as all others since the first proles were shipped in back in 1997. It had just gone 9 o'clock and the faithful were at their desks, or otherwise engaged in their daily toil. It was the usual scene of drudgery on the ground floor. The ringing of the phones. The tapping of myriad keys. The to and fro of the proles attending the vending machines. Above all of this could be heard the customary murmur of the oppressed as they wilted under the heat of the new energy efficient light bulbs, or as they queued at the only working photocopier, or were handed yet another monumental pile of A4 letters to stick into envelopes because the letter stuffer had broken, or one of the archaic scanners had gone tits up. Yes, 'twas business as usual on the ground floor of the banking workhouse on that ordinary, if not rather hot, August morn.

As usual, prole M150858 was at his desk and beavering away like the good employee he was. Also, as usual, no one had noticed him come in. Therefore no one had seen the unusual frown upon his countenance. I suppose nothing looked untoward though. After all, most of the proles here carried long faces into the place. But had anyone taken that little more time to look at M150858 they would have noticed something very different indeed. He was literally simmering. Simmering like a pot of canteen minestrone soup that had been left on a low heat for hours on end, like it usually is. Had anyone taken time to notice they would also have realised that, unlike other mornings, prole M150858 never once bade anyone a good morning or any other form of greeting. Most unlike him. His fellow proles just never saw anything different because they never looked close enough. They therefore failed to notice his torrid state. He was a prole on the edge, and he was about to go over.

It had just gone 9.30 and in the far opposite corner from M150858's work area a shapely young female prole was stood at the only working photocopier. She'd just placed a letter on the copier and at the very moment she pressed the green button, subsequently confirmed in statements as being 09:32, she was frozen to the spot by the most hideous, spine chilling howl from the worst nightmare you could ever imagine. It was like three long agonising shrieks, all in succession, the second of which sounded more like a declaration being bellowed by the very Devil himself. She looked towards the source of the sound but her view was hindered by the printer room.

Much closer to the incident a burly, middle aged male prole was unfortunate enough to feel the full impact of what happened. A hardy soul and former fire fighter that had seen some grisly sights in his day, he found his legs a quivering like a jelly on stilts. "Jesus, I nearly shit me self", were the first words used in his statement. Being so tough and time-worn he was perhaps the least effected of all the proles who witnessed the misfortune of that awful day. The day a prole snapped.

A minute before exploding, M150858's face was a burning red. His simmering had suddenly escalated to an uncontrollable twitching and boiling anger. His whole being was aflame with rage, yet even the prole sat next to him failed to notice. He was simply too engrossed in the daily grind of office life.

And so at 09:32 on that humid, godforsaken day, prole M150858 detonated.

There is much confusion over just what happened immediately after the clock turned 9.32, but at least one reliable witness believes that the first extremely loud verbal utterance that burst forth out of prole M150858's throat was something like,


And then came the devastation.

M150858 reached down and brought forth an implement that looked more befitting of a medieval battlefield than an open plan sweatshop. A huge iron ball, weighing a good 10 kilos, on the end of a heavy iron link chain and attached to a short wooden batten covered in a leather grip. An impressive piece of kit by anyone's reckoning. But more impressive was the skill and agility in which M150858 wielded this awesome contrivance above his head. BOOM! BOOM! Not Basil Brush, but the sound that resulted in the atomisation of two fiche printers that were the first victims of M150858's journey of devastation. Showers of flotsam were jettisoned in all directions. Nuts, bolts, resistors, capacitors, screws, knobs and all. The guts of two large pieces of office machinery rained down amidst a hail of broken glass and finely ground plastic. A veritable meteor shower that ended up spread far and wide.

A poor young female prole who had been close by one of those very fiche printers stood frozen to the spot, her mouth agape as if about to let loose the loudest scream you ever did hear, not even the scream daring to leave her throat. But a worse fate befell the poor prole that shared his pod space with M150858. He'd been sat right next to M150858 when the madness erupted. He literally packed his pants on the spot, rooted to the chair, unable to budge an inch, such was the grip of icy cold fear that had lain hold upon him. His face drained of life. He turned pencil grey, and were it not for the sound of his terror induced farting, any observer would have believed him dead there and then.

Prole M150858 in an instant turned his fearful ball hammer to the wall by his side. 'Twas no match for the Lego-like walls of Tepidwater House, and the wall in question was the only barrier betwixt the ground floor office and the gentlemen's lavatory. An unsuspecting visiting contractor prole with constipation was sat in the end trap minding his business doing his business when M150858's intruding ball hammer came crashing through the plaster and chipboard partition. It was the last thing on earth he expected (or needed) but his constipation was cured in a jot and the claw marks on the sides of the cubicle remain to this day.

M150858 quickly withdrew the ball hammer from the huge hole it had created and again began to swing it swiftly about his head before bringing it down with such a precise trajectory that it wiped out in one swoop three computer monitors and a telephone. One of the computers exploded sending a big plume of acrid black smoke towards the ceiling, but this didn't deter M150858. Nay, it seemed to inspire him. Until this moment he had carried out all the destruction from where he stood. But now he moved menacingly away from the ravaged pod and towards fresher mechanical blood.

By now, only a few seconds into the commotion, a sizeable number of M150858's fellow proles had begun to react. Most of the ground floor workforce had heard the turmoil, but not all. The post room proles were blissfully unaware, being stuck in their cramped little chamber. So too the commoners in the printer room, but that was about to change very dramatically.

Closer to the scene itself mass panic ensued. Proles nearest to M150858 darted here and there, stumbling about, falling and fumbling. Frantically trying to get clear of the spot. Utter chaos. Some ran headlong into the exit doors, forgetting to press the button that releases the magnetic lock. There was an eerie silence among them, save for the occasional howl of anguish. Further afield the proles who believed themselves comparatively safe behaved quite differently. They herded together like a mass of inquisitive sheep moving as one unit as close as they dare to the scene. Some of the more nervous ones abandoned the flock and swiftly and silently made their ways to the exit. Some voices piped up. The more sensible ones would ask, "What's happening?" "Has anyone called security?" "Who is it?" "Why's he doing that?" Some boorish proles would make unhelpful and puerile remarks. "Is that a canteen scone he's swinging around?" But one thing that all the proles shared on this day was that they'd never seen anything as dramatic in the office as the scene that played out before them.

Prole M150858 menacingly took up the ball hammer again and steamed into the next line of office equipment. This time it included printers and stacks of overloaded trays full of letters and envelopes. Ingredients of mortgage offer packs. They went up a treat. The merciless iron ball tore through the piles of A4 mountain ranges sending up great clouds of confetti. At this point one witness swears he heard some cheeky bugger let out a cheer. But this was no time for levity. M150858, by now, was now stood at the serving hatch entrance to the printer room and things were about to get a whole lot worse. As with the post room proles the printer room lackeys knew nothing of the wave of wanton destruction going on so near to them. But this changed in an instant when M150858 spun his lethal weapon above his head once more and this time much faster than before. At the decisive moment he let it loose and it sailed silently and almost poetically straight through the serving hatch and into a beautiful, very expensive flat screen monitor atop the biggest printer of all. Jackpot!

As if by an act of divine intervention it just so happened that the ground floor's oldest prole, one of the three cost units in the room at the time, had only one second before had his head directly between the screen and the incoming hammer. One second longer at that screen and it would have been his head that accompanied the hammer on its journey into the display. From their former state of customary tedium the three proles within were startled into life. Instinct kicked in immediately. The three of them bolted frantically towards the door to freedom, overwrought with dread, and tried in unison to get through an opening made for one. Arms and legs a flailing and a groping and a grasping. It was like watching Bambi on ice.

At this point a couple of rather wise workers noticed that M150858 no longer had his hammer. "Somebody grab him!" But then complete hesitation. The maniacal look on M150858's face was enough to turn one's blood cold. Who in their right mind was going to approach him? But in that moment's hesitation it was M150858 who reacted first. Like a finely honed premier class goalkeeper making a save, he dived like a 49-year-old gazelle straight through the hatch and into the printer room. The room that housed the most expensive kit of all.

Meanwhile the proles in the post room had been alerted to the crisis by the noise of the hammer going through the monitor screen and striking their adjoining wall. Lucky for them the monitor had taken a bit of the sting out of the hammer's speed and slowed it enough to prevent it going straight through the wall and decapitating the manager.

An inquisitive but slightly nervous and smaller than average fellow walked into the printer room from the post room side at the exact moment that M150858 was sailing through the hatch like an albatross with its arse on fire. He really hadn't expected to see that, and his reaction confirmed it. His banshee-like howl filled the air, while simultaneously his first meal of the day filled his trousers. Then he fainted where he stood.

It was show time! M150858 began his most vehement destruction of all in the printer room. The room housed several very large and impressive spanking new printers, along with a beautiful photocopier and a pair of computers. The only other item being a post room trolley all nicely filled up and ready for distribution to the various teams in the building. But there would be no deliveries today. No sir. Up went the ball hammer again. Round and round spun M150858 and he smote without mercy every single item in that room. Smashed to smithereens in 5 minutes engagement of wholesale desolation.

The noise coming from the printer room was tremendous, but the fact that M150858 was in there doing his deed allowed for some pretension among some of the more macho male proles. The phoney tough and the crazy brave. They thought it safe to approach the room and view through the hatch what was going on in that scene from Hades. However, they were soon on their toes when a wall clock came hurtling through the hatch like a flying saucer and disintegrating on the opposing wall. "Fuck this, I'm out of here!" went up one whoop. And the others soon turned tail and ran to the exit.

Meanwhile the post room drones had heard the tempest and were fast making their way out of their little cavity any which way they could, albeit the small serving hatch that led to the main complex. Scrambling, bounding, leaping, scratching, biting and howling like rabid dogs they tried all to get through the hatch as one unit. If it hadn't been so deadly serious it would have been hilarious. Bodies rolling and tumbling out of the hatch and then leaping into life as they discovered they were free. It was said afterwards that the post room johnnies had never moved so fast since some joker put his head round the door and yelled, "Free snacks in the vending machines!" But this was no time for frivolity. The poor blighters ran for their lives and joined the rest of the ground floor proles who were now exiting in their droves.

Suddenly, the colossal din from the printer room ceased. The suddenness in which it stopped was as perplexing as it was unnerving. The proles that had hitherto been swiftly leaving the ground floor slowed their departure and an air of inquisitiveness descended upon them.


At this point a long-term security guard that couldn't put a cat out walked onto the scene. He'd been alerted to the crisis by the hordes of distressed drones that had gathered in the foyer. Initially he was reluctant to do anything, such was the look of terror on the faces of those that looked to him for help. A grizzled managerial prole finally prompted him with a gruff instruction. "Uprising in steerage. Get yourself in there!" Sheepishly he made his way...

Silence. The kind of silence that led many to believe that M150858 had finally ended his crusade of mayhem by ending himself. All eyes were on the nervous security guard whose legs were all of a quiver. Then those same eyes were upon the door of the printer room in a prompting plea to the poor guard to enter the room and discover the truth within. One nervous step followed another. Slowly, the trembling mess of a man moved towards the door. Almost tiptoeing he got within about 3 metres of it. Then came the loudest blast of all as the door to the printer room, including its frame, exploded across the scene, and there, with his ball hammer dangling from his hand, stood M150858. He stood menacingly silent for a moment, his face aflame with unspent fury. The poor security guard was all arms and legs. He blurted out some incomprehensible gobbledegook about Mary being the mother of God, before running like the clappers to the exit and then out of the foyer, into the car park and towards the footbridge. He was never seen again. Some say he just never stopped running.

Back in the office and the uproar was on again. Proles began running. Blinded by panic they ran in all directions. They ran hither and thither. Hollering and a whooping as they went. Some post room proles even began running back to the post room, believing they would find salvation there, or at least die doing something they loved.

M150858 had his hammer a whirling once more. The remaining desks and equipment situated outside the printer room took the full force. This time, M150858 added chairs to his list of wanton devastation. The mighty ball hammer combined with M150858's athletic grace and beastliness of aggression proved disastrous for the poor old crappy chairs. Each one exploding in a mist of cheap foam stuffing as the 10 kilo sphere from Hell tore through each one. But then, horror of all horrors. Sat frozen, terrified to the spot, in one of those chairs was a frail, elderly, female prole - right in the path of M150858 and his pirouetting hammer. Her teeth were a chattering and her knees were a knocking, but not a word passed her lips. The few remaining onlookers feared the worst. Some of the faint-hearted looked away. Someone yelled, "Jesus H. Christ!" But then came the unexpected. M150858 worked his way around the poor old bird. She sat there as falling chair foam settled on her fluffy white head while the downfall carried on around her. Not a hair on her head was harmed. The penny began to drop among some of the onlookers. This was a campaign of ruination against the employer, not the employees. M150858's colleagues were never the targets. It was the system that was going down.

The mayhem was nearing its end. The steam was going out of M150858's frenzy. It was time for the consummation. Seeing that their colleague had no intention of harming them, and seeing he was slowing down somewhat, some of the remaining proles moved towards him in a bid to communicate. But one brave young fellow was having none of it. He wanted to be the hero of the day. Action, not communication. And it paid off. This particular prole was a keen martial arts disciple. A pink belt in the art of Nickynackynoo. He fancied his chances against M150858.

M150858 was now rapidly losing momentum. His massive tool was becoming limp in his grip. With one final blow he claimed his last material victim. A cheap pocket calculator obliterated as it was trounced into the surface of the last desk in the row.

Now was the time to act. The virile young prole made his move. He grabbed one of the cheap grey plastic paper bins nearby and circumnavigated M150858 until he was behind him and out of sight. Prole M150858 was already jaded by now and it was no difficult task for the Bruce Lee look-alike to leap gallantly forward and clap the upturned bin over M150858's nut. A mixture of cheers and sighs of relief went up from the few wage slaves that remained in the vicinity. The nightmare was over.

M150858 immediately stood stock still when the bin went over his head. A cautious few other brave fellow proles then nervously approached him and led him very carefully towards the exit. He never uttered a word.

By now the Old Bill had been alerted and several of them took charge from the foyer. M150858 was led gently away and never seen again.

Most of the ground floor slaves took the rest of the day off, although they did have to pay the time back within the month. Some chose to take annual leave instead. Luckily for the Company, and rather surprisingly, there was no sick leave taken as a result of the melee. The worst injuries were articles of underwear soiled beyond redemption, and perhaps a few more grey hairs on the heads of the older proles that were present on that extraordinary day.

The first thing the Company did was to cost everything. The area was cordoned off and the Bank's own forensics were sent in. The absolute destruction they found made their hackles stand on end. It was estimated that in approximately 7 minutes, prole M150858 wrought about 3 million pounds worth of damage, most of it carried out in the printer room. On entering the printer room, one forensic officer said he was hard pushed to believe that it had ever housed any equipment at all. He walked amongst a covering of ankle deep flotsam. "Everything was gone. Not an on-off switch remained". This same officer was mystified to discover amidst the dust what he believed to be a child's toy Tonka truck. But it turned out to be what was left of the post room's delivery trolley after M150858 had pounded it into near oblivion.

Further afield it was discovered that the vending machines were completely untouched. The only damage done was to equipment and stationery belonging to the system. Prole M150858's anger was only aimed at these.

A delegation of Company big nobs were sent North to survey the scene and to present the nimble limbed karate loving prole with a reward for his bravery in bringing the whole awful business to a conclusion. He was presented with a 5 voucher and a Team Star certificate with a photocopied signature from the site manager. However, he had these items swiftly confiscated when it came to light that it was his ball hammer that had been used in the incident! It just so happened that on that fateful morning he'd been showing a fellow prole that particular part of the Nicknackynoo Pink Warriors arsenal and he'd left it underneath said prole's desk. The same prole that sat next to M150858.

The delegation addressed the ground floor flunkeys regarding the events. The site manager then showed the delegation the damage that was just beginning to get cleared away. The big nobs shook their heads and sighed and there was much tut-tutting. "This is going to cost a fortune", said one. "We'll all have to pull together on this one", said another. "I'm just glad he never made it to the scanners", said the site manager.

But what had sparked the incident? This was the question on everyone's lips. Why had such an exemplary specimen of fine proletariat gone stir fry crazy? At what point did the ground floor's most courteous and amiable member explode? What finally lit the fuse to M150858's meltdown? One of the first forensic officers on the scene believes he knows why. After clambering over the remains at ground zero he was flabbergasted to discover that the only piece of office equipment to remain completely untouched was the PC belonging to prole M150858. The bewildered fellow approached the desk and leaned around to find the computer still on and the following words displayed on the screen: PLEASE WAIT WHILE WE PROCESS YOUR REQUEST. I suppose that M150858 had simply waited long enough.

No one knows what became of prole M150858. Some say he was carted off to a lunatic asylum where he hums incessantly and rocks to and fro to this very day. Others say he went to Mauritania where he is currently involved in a land reclamation project in the Sahara Desert. Others believe the conspiracy that the whole event was staged and that it was an inside job planned by Company lawyers doing an insurance fiddle and that M150858 was paid a princely sum to trash the gaff. But M150858's colleagues knew the truth. He was just plain sick of the same old flipping grind. Day in, day out. Being treated like an idiot by a faceless, soulless corporation that couldn't give a toss about him or anyone else that sweated and toiled away under the inept air conditioning and heat lamps. He'd simply been the first one to run out of tether. He'd been the prole that snapped.

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