Any day now some science-fiction writer will do a dystopic story called The Great BlackBerry Crumble. A rat eats through cables in a shed in Slough or Shanghai and crash – servers all over the world pack up. The screens go blank. The internet is kaput. Even the phones are down.
No one can communicate by any kind of electronic means, and in this giant information blackout another disaster threatens the existence of life on Earth: an asteroid, say, or a tsunami or a plague of giant shape-shifting iguanas from Venus who come disguised as Eddie Izzard.
Someone needs to tell the President of the United States! Someone needs to get the message through to the only man with the firepower to save the planet from the mutant lizards – and that someone is a loveable teenager from London called Jake.
He has an earring, he has an iPod, he has a BlackBerry – and after all kinds of vicissitudes he makes it through to the White House, where a blizzard is raging. By now Jake is at the end of his tether, after marching through the snow with nothing more to sustain him than a Curly Wurly and a packet of cheese and onion crisps. He knocks on the door. No one answers. Faint with cold and hunger, he slumps to the mat and realises that he must leave a message. He fumbles in his hoodie pockets and finds his BlackBerry. Still stuffed! How can he communicate? The President needs to know about the Izzard lizards – and time is running out.
He gropes again in his pocket and finds his girlfriend’s eyeliner. Quick – before he passes out he knows he must write the news, here on the vacant white paint of the Presidential door. He takes out the eyeliner, and just as he is preparing to make the first planet-saving mark he realises with a gasping sob that it’s no good.