It was 3.59am Hong Kong, and Brando's offices reeked of Vodka and sweat. The design intern cowered from the men that encircled him. "Reach into the parts bag," one of them hissed, "and make us something we'll like."
Silhouetted by a single yellowed bulb, with memories of design school lectures still fresh in his brain, the intern hesitated. "I heard there are scorpions in there. Is... is that..." Silence. And so he reached.
He grabbed the largest piece he could find, hoping for a USB hub, or something similarly versatile. Yes, he though to himself as he pulled a miniature keyboard from the bag. There's still hope. Re-entry. Fumbling. A minor puncture wound from a frayed wire. Finally, he grabbed hold of something smooth and square. He realises his mistake almost immediately, but not before one of his new bosses can club him in the back of his head with a combination power strip/barometer. "That's two items, you stupid child." A hand reached out and slapped the battery and touchpad from the intern's hand, onto the floor. "Go again."
A wireless transmitter. A d-pad. Some LED lights. A backlighting panel. Lastly, a... wait, what's this? A laser pointer? Fuck. A portly man with darkened sunglasses snorted as if he'd just been jolted awake, and gestured slowly, as if conducting an orchestra in slow motion. The room fell silent.
"That will be all," one of his apparent henchman said. He gestured toward a cracked door on the other side of the room, labelled "Engineerin". (The "g" had fallen off in 2007, and nobody had bothered to replace it.) Through the gap, the intern could see his tools: there was a flathead screwdriver, some electrical tape and a soldering iron. For a fleeting second, he thought he saw small a tube of glue, until the black shape scuttled away under the table. He loaded up his now-drenched shirt with the parts like a child hoarding Easter eggs, and shuffled wearily into the engineering chamber, too nervous even to glance over his shoulder.
The next thing he heard was the sound of a turning key; the thud of a setting deadbolt; the slow sinking of a human stomach. Hidden in the near corner was two gallons of water, a USB hotplate, and a pile of broken, unpackaged ramen noodles. "See you in three weeks" our intern heard through the door. Or was it three months? He couldn't hear through all the laughter.
The Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard is available today, for $US92. [Crunchgear]