He kept returning to the online form.
Again and again. Sometimes it would be enough just to navigate through to the page and take one look at it, then he would be clicking the back key. Get out get out get out.
Another time he went to the online form and this time he didn’t read the whole thing, just started filling in the boxes, taking it one field at a time, not daring to look back, only filling in the fields marked with the red asterisk, the ones that were compulsory. Then he went to click the button that would send him through to the next screen, but instead he hit the back button over and over until he could exit no further. Then he closed his browser, shutdown his computer, unplugged the router from the wall.
The online form never slept. Sometimes he would get up at two, three in the morning, switch on his computer and go to the website where the form lived. It was always there, with its fields, with its drop down boxes. And because the online form never rested, neither could he.
Knowing his nemesis was only ever a couple of clicks away, the internet became a place he didn’t like to be. It was like how he wouldn’t go into town any longer, because if he went to town he might go to certain places where he was likely to see people he didn’t like to see.
Sleepless, he stayed up all night and read self-help books. He cut sugar from his diet, swore off caffeine, consumed less fast food. Started going to the gym every day, thinking the whole time that the online form must be defeated so that he could progress to the next stage of his life.
The day came when he was ready, finally ready to complete the online form. Not just ready this time, but really, tryuly ready.
He buttoned himself into his biggest, thickest coat, pulled on heavy boots, wore sunglasses, poured a tot of whiskey, appeared to have grown a mean-looking beard. Sat down at his computer. From a piece of A4 paper he had cut a hole the exact same size and shape as the fields in the online form. He moved the piece of paper across the screen so he had only to look at one field at a time, quickly input his information, moved the paper so he could see the next field. He had done his homework, scoped out the territory – he knew the form inside out, knew exactly where to go next. He completed all the fields and clicked the button to complete, imagining the online form, beaten, howling in defeat.
He had done it.
But the online form had one last trick up its sleeve – a new page, a different hoop through which he had never before been asked to jump. It told him that before submitting the form, he must review the information input, and confirm.
After everything he had been through.
Months earlier, this would have finished him, he would have beaten a swift retreat. But he was ready now. He flexed his muscles, threw his viewfinder across the room, ripped off his sunglasses, gave a roar of defiance…