I have this version of hell, in my head, where it is like this giant faceless corporation, where the souls of the damned serve out eternity in mindless bureaucratic servitude. In a windowless building, in tiny cubicles, like battery-farmed insurance company workers (which may very well be what many of them were in a previous incarnation), these poor wretches will spread evil throughout the land - and also make reality television programmes like The Bachelor.

Within this corporate hell there are many departments, dealing with evils both great (Famine, Pestilence, Religious Fundamentalism, Paul Henry) and also mundane. In a way it is the mundane evil - which is the work of the Department of Everyday Evil (DEE) that is (with one exception) the most evil of all the evils.

The job of the DEE is to make your life crap at an annoying and persistent level. These are the demons that turn a good day into a bad one, just because they can and because it is the reason for their eternal existence.

The way the DEE works, as far as my imagination can figure, is that they have a computer system that randomly picks names and when your name is picked they turn all their insidious forces into guaranteeing you have what they term an RCW (Really Crap Week).


A RCW is one of those weeks where nothing goes right and everything goes wrong for reasons you cannot comprehend. And the reason you cannot comprehend why you're having a RCW is that there are the unseen forces of the DEE behind the whole damnable thing.

The DEE work on many levels when instigating the RCW. They fiddle with simple tasks to make them frustratingly complex; they mess with lines of communication so the things you think you're saying are not what others hear; they turn innocent, offhand comments into landmines so that you live your life in perpetual fear of saying the wrong thing. In general, they create an atmosphere of impending disaster around everything you say and do.

When your name comes up and you're lined up to have a RCW, the DEE will leave no stone unturned to harsh your mellow. They are the ones who leave the cat vomit on the rug for you to stand on in the middle of the night; they are the ones who make the bread go mouldy before the best-by date; they are the ones who turn the salad in the bag manky and slimy the day after you buy it. And they will literally turn a stone over so that you stub your toe on it when you are out for a walk.

Technology is especially fertile for the DEE when it wants to turn your RCW into a SCW (Spectacularly Crap Week). Emails that somehow go astray; computers that crash for no reason; those super-annoying updates you have to download for no comprehensible purpose; the sudden proliferation of websites designed to look cool but which are impossible to navigate - these are all signs that the DEE has upgraded you to a SCW.

And it will come as no surprise to anyone that the DEE head office shares the same building with the dark forces that control the Spark network.

Strangely, although when you are in the throes of a RCW/SCW it will seem that the traffic is against you at (literally) every turn, with unexplained traffic jams and idiotic driving abounding, this is not actually the work of the DEE. No, in the deepest, darkest, most bowel-like recesses of the 11th level of hell is the department responsible for Auckland traffic called, simply, Auckland Traffic (AT). Even the DEE do not dare to encroach on the jurisdiction of AT, because the DEE also have to get to work somehow.

When your name comes up on the DEE computer screens and you find yourself dragged down into the miasma of a RCW/SCW, there is absolutely nothing you can do except ride it out. If you attempt to understand it, there is no logic to grasp on to and it will drive you mad. If you attempt to fight it, you will be crushed by the weight of it. If you attempt to remain relentlessly positive through it, people will question your insane grin and mad staring eyes. Everything you do will make it worse, so the only thing left is to submit and wait for it to end, when the DEE pluck another name from their files and the bad mojo shifts on to them.

Well, that's my take on it anyway. Mind you, I'm having a really crap week, so what do I know?