Dont panic! Said the sign. Dam Diligent stood before the great doors of the Horse-piddle. He had brought 1,000 rolls of toilet paper as he was unsure how long he would stay

Dam told them at the door that he had C0/20, or C02 as he called it, but they all suddenly disappeared! He’d caught it 20 years ago from an aeroplane which produced a straight-cloud right above his head while he was listening to somebody talk about their problems. It took 3 days for the grey mist to come down and Dam’s left ear filled up with silence while the other ear had a screaming insect in it. He had to walk about with his head on the side, but then one eye went out so he kept bumping into things. Up to 60,000 toilet rolls later and a slow recovery, he was now convinced his neighbour, who was a scientist, had dosed him with some magnetic bug which scrambled his electrics and made the CO2 worse! Dam had recently installed a solar panel on his roof but it had never seen the sun as the clouds were so dense. And then Dam started sneezing! The air was hot the cloud oppressive so Dam began to sleep in his hammock outside. One night a great hot wind sprang up and to his relief the stars came out. But Dam noticed a long straight black cloud which went right over his house and as he watched he saw it was coming from the scientist’s house next door! All the next day the grey mist spread out and stayed and the dry acrid air smelt of aluminium and asbestos. And he kept sneezing! As he lay in the Horse-piddle bed the doctors and nurses floated in and out like clouds bearing gifts from the mills of industry. In the beds around him were the chipped fragments of other human beings. All with CO2; many dying. Meanwhile computers searched satellite images for previous contactees to ascertain whether Dam was indeed the original case of CO/20. Dam happened to be a famous one legged soccer player and had shaken the hands of over a million people! He was worried and kept biting his toe nail. Just then a woman in a mask floated into his vision. “Mr Diligent, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you!” Dam blinked with one eye and shot an arm straight up in the air. Then his leg became uncontrollable as he bounded down the corridor and out through the doors. That night he lit another candle, and the air fizzed and crackled as though it was alive. But all Dam could think of was all those people who were dying, he didn’t recognise any of them and he was sure he hadn’t shaken their hand.

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