Dir. Akira Kurosawa Perf. Toshirô Mifune and Takashi Shimura. Toho Company, 1954 Film

If Sebastian taught me anything, he taught me to dial the first two digits of the emergency number first – before you got yourself into trouble. Convulsing from electric shock, you might still manage to fumble the last digit (so that paramedics could come and resuscitate you), but you’d never manage all three.

Sebastian got his start wiring together surveillance devices for mistrustful husbands under Colin Mitchell at Talking Electronics. When ASIO shut Talking Electronics down in 1992, Sebastian started a private company in the city called Teragen International, doing God only knows what. Their only discernable business amounted to a dialup internet service with too few modems called Aardvark Internet. But Teragen worked day and night, propelled to a frenetic pace by ephedrine tea they imported under a loophole in the Australian import restrictions. After working for days at a stretch, they’d retire to electrocute themselves with homemade electroshock weapons.

For years, Sebastian lived on Twisties and Coca-Cola, took no exercise and restricted himself to four hours sleep a night, substituting a parade of stimulants for the lost sleep. At last, Sebastian’s doctor told him that if kept it up, he’d die within a year. Sebastian sprung into action: he got a new doctor.

William came to work at Teragen by passing through Teragen’s rendition of the recruiting procedure from the Seven Samurai. Each year, Teragen would signup for the national Work Experience Program. The high school students who selected Teragen discovered that they’d committed themselves for a two-week interment in an insane asylum for electronics adepts. They wandered through an amphetamine-powered Disneyland with no guardrails.

At some point when the misfortunate student went to the toilet, giggling employees would pump explosive gas under the door and touch it off with a soldering iron. The unpaid sixteen-year old would erupt out of the restroom with his ass on fire, yelling about lawsuits. In most cases, Teragen would never see him again. William proved different. Instead, he burst out of the restroom grinning like a kid who’d just ridden the world’s greatest rollercoaster. “That looked great!” he exclaimed, and at once began to look forward to how much fun he’d have inflicting it on next year’s work experience students.

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