The Power

At 19 Bradley's life was dull. He was "BroodWatch" when he chatted to his friends, if "friends" was a term you could apply to a collection of college outcasts convinced they were vampires, werewolves or faeries. He could easily believe that none of them ever exposed themselves to sunshine. The blue glow of a monitor was light enough for their spectral existences.

Life was dull because he'd seen it all. The interweaving stories of mystery and magic that had drawn him into a web of gothic splendor were now just tired, twisted yarns. He saw the same patterns repeated ad nauseam with marginally different characters and varying amounts of blood. The stories of immortality and power left him feeling dry and hollow. And what was there outside this narrow definition of life? A bloodless grey city with mind numbing jobs, where the only flashes of colour were lures to attract careless wallets.

Time to check email. He thought again about the new faerie he'd met. I wonder if PinkBlade read my email. Each time he logged on he was filled with a strange hope that somewhere in the trash-filled in-tray would be a reply from a real person. The hope hadn't died, despite months of continual punishing abuse. Only seven spams since this morning. The mail server must have been down for most of the day. He had three Absolutely-Guaranteed-Get-Rich-Quick-Without-Working opportunities, two I-Missed-You-Honey/Remember-Me messages from senders with hooker-names, one Enlarge-Your-Member promise, and one Gothic-General-Store sales catalogue. Bradley was bored so he let BroodWatch click on the catalogue.

He hadn’t heard of Gothic General Store. Ewwww! Red text on black. Makes me squint to read it. Obviously not meant for humans to read. What have they got? Costumes and Jewelry, Psychic Guidance from a Genuine Gypsy, Posters, CDs, and a book on the path to mental powers "Connecting to the Power". Like the battered email-hope that kept him going, Bradley still kept a tiny reserve of hope that somewhere there was “power” to be gained. There was none in his school years. There was none in his job except that wielded by the petulant, thou-shalt-worship-me customer. Somewhere in this world of victims, someone had to have real “power”.

He clicked.

A browser window appeared.

Connecting to the Power

Conditions of Entry:

  • In order to view this page you must agree to be bound to the terms and conditions of entry.
  • You certify that you are at least 18 years old. You agree to indemnify the provider of this information against all moral and legal obligations. 
  • You acknowledge that all real power comes at some cost and continued use of power may have long term effects that the information provider is unable to predict and cannot be held responsible for. 
  • You acknowledge that the product on offer here is specialized knowledge that has been obtained by the diligent efforts of the vendor. The vendor therefore reserves the right to withhold any information the vendor deems to be necessary for the preservation of this business opportunity.

Agree / Cancel

Nobody ever reads these.


The "Connecting to the Power" site looked professionally produced, but obviously not a high-budget affair. It had the usual "hand on heart" satisfied-user recommendations:

"This was the hardest self-help book I have ever seen. The training was intense, but the results are absolutely amazing. I have done away with sleep entirely now and best of all, I can influence people."

"i used to think that i were the only lonely one i had no real friends people didn't know jack about the way i felt and they didn't care after i read it and started the training i knew my life had really started when i finished the training and used the power i can make stuff happen and see really wild stuff"

"I couldn't afford the $150 for CTTP but I wanted it real bad. I used mom's bf's credit to buy it. He didn't even notice for months and by the time he did I had the power. He came down real pissed and in less than 2 minutes he was glad he decided to buy me a present. This power is awesome. I can talk to anyone in a street and they really want to do things to help me."

If you ever wanted the power to influence people's decisions, the ability to sense minds outside your own, or foreknowledge of things to come, you owe it to yourself to try “Connecting to the Power”.

There was a special trial offer:

Get the first chapter of the training. Find out if you have what it takes. Only $3 for postage and handling. Same day local shipment.

Add to cart

Bradley wondered why they didn't just post the chapter on the page. Sounds like a scam, but $3 is worth it to find out.

The chapter arrived the next day and he saw immediately why it couldn't be posted on the web. A page at the back of the chapter was perforated like a page of postage stamps. It was sealed in plastic and labeled "Important. Contents must be used within 5 days of breaking seal." How can they put all this together and post it for three dollars? A dozen loose sheets fell out from the back cover. “Cheapest Airfares Ever”, “Be Bigger for Her”, “Paying Too Much for Auto Insurance?”, “Repair Your Credit at NO COST”, and “Maximum Coverage for your Cell Phone” told Bradley enough. Spam gets everywhere.

Opening to the start of the book, Bradley found the warnings a little disturbing:

Please follow all instructions exactly as written. The manufacturer will not be held liable for damages of any kind arising from usage outside these instructions.

The following process will place you under some considerable stress. Not all customers will be able to complete the full connection process. This trial offer should be sufficient for you to determine whether you have a chance of being able to complete the full connection.

This sounds serious - more serious than I thought. Bradley flopped down in the lounge to read.

Chapter 1 - Self Awareness

Preparation. Day 1

Make sure you will have 5 hours of completely uninterrupted time in a quiet environment. You will need a completely empty bowel, bladder and stomach. You must remain awake for the full 5 hours so please ensure you are well rested. You will need sufficient light to read this book, one page of stamps (included in sealed section at the back of the chapter), one sterile pin (also included in sealed section).

Suggestion: Some trainees have found it advantageous to "unload" their concerns before starting this high-concentration session. If you have no friends prepared to listen, a dictaphone, pet or stuffed toy is often sufficient.

Warning: This process must not be interrupted. Turn off your mobile phone. Lock up your pet. Lock your door. Give sleeping pills to your flat-mates (just kidding). You cannot continue this process after any interruption. It must be completely re-started.

Warning: Each of these four sessions must be completed within a 7-day period. Do not attempt more than one session per day. Best results are achieved by using 4 consecutive days.

This was looking better than Bradley had imagined. He read on to familiarize himself with the process. Forget chicken’s blood and ceremonial daggers. This was scientific! He always knew there were untapped powers in his mind. He followed the instructions rigorously. Bradley didn’t have many concerns to unload, but little plastic Yoda heard them all, even the worry that PinkBlade might think BroodWatch was too desperate. Yoda always listened.

Going the distance was never in doubt. The four-day training regime just required determination. After day one he felt drained; after day two, tired and confused; after day three, exhausted and hung-over; but after day four he achieved clarity. Bradley was conscious of the blood flowing around his brain and could feel his own pulse. He could feel clusters of neural activity processing quietly as he browsed. Anxiety, pleasure, guilt, peace were all detectable as colours and shapes inside his head.

Best three dollars I ever spent.

But he knew he wanted more. He ordered the book.

Bradley brooded over the mailbox. Please Mr. Postman. Deliver it today.

The book arrived within a week. He devoured the undiscovered chapters of the book, lesson by lesson: The Whole Brain, Body Thoughts, External Sensing, Hearing Thoughts, Shaping and Suggesting, Communal Mind, then the final lesson – Responsibilities. He knew better than to disregard the instructions. Dutiful completion of all the lessons was required before trying to use his new skills freely.

I am connected. I can feel all of myself and my world. I can feel the profound presence of the Power waiting to fill me. I am more than a man. I am fully human. As he waited, patiently, willing his mind to connect to that immense intelligence he could feel his thoughts start flowing between himself and the greater consciousness. $150 for a life transforming experience? That was no cost. The weeks of concentrated study and grueling exercises? No cost at all.

Bradley relaxed and closed his eyes.

He found himself in a green field studded with wildflowers. A fresh breeze played with his hair. The sound of galloping hooves made him turn. He sensed the colours of awe and wonder cloud into his head. A girl riding a huge white horse was heading towards him. She slowed her horse as she approached him.

Dismounting gracefully, she spoke in a husky voice, "Ever thought you may need an extra inch or two to satisfy me? Don’t miss the big introductory offers for this month."

Bradley opened his eyes quickly, having realized the cost of his new power.