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(Dirk gently returns in)

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul



He had a tremendous propensity for getting lost when driving. This was largely because of his method of "Zen" navigation, which was simply to find any car that looked as if it knew where it was going and follow it. The results were more often surprising than successful, but he felt it was worth it for the sake of the few occasiones when it was both.

The usual people tried to claim responsibility.
First the IRA, then the PLO and the Gas Board. Even British Nuclear Fuels rushed out a statement to the effect that the situation was completely under control, that it was a one in a million chance, that there was hardly any radioactive leakage at all, and that the site of the explosion would make a nice location for a day out with the kids and a picnic, before finally having to admit that it wasn't actually to do with them at all. No cause could be found for the explosion. It seemed to have happened spontaneously and of its own free will. Explanations were advanced, but most of these were simply phrases which restated the problem in different words, along the same principles which had given the world "metal fatigue". In fact, a very similar phrase was invented to account for the sudden transition of wood, metal, plastic and concrete into an explosive condition, which was "non-linear catastrophic structural exasperation", or to put it another way - as a junior cabinet minister did on television the following night in a phrase which was to haunt the rest of his career - the check-in desk had just got "fundamentally fed up with being where it was".

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