11: The Enquiry

this chapter was submitted by Richard Birkin

John is sitting looking over at Katerina sat sideways. This is a new thing. For a moment John thinks about going over there and enquiring about what the problem is. He puts his full attention into imagining what it would be like...to check that it is feasible before committing to anything.

John would get up and walk around his desk and stride confidently in the direction of Katerina. There would be wind in his hair, and all the other people in the library would move in slow motion. Linda may or may not try and put herself and her clipboard in the way of John and Katerina, but John would brush her aside like those coloured bits of plastic that stop flies going in your kitchen. John would appear at her desk and take the paper knife from Bob, place it at his chin and tell him what was what. And what what was was Bob not bothering Katerina again. In fact it might be that Bob would maybe work completely elsewhere.

John is feeling confident about the scenario. It is almost plausible. It is the most plausible out of all the scenarios. The ones from today at least.

There is adrenalin in John. John is feeling pumped. John stands up and walks around his desk. As John takes his first stride in the direction of Katerina an obstruction presents itself. The obstruction is a woman. The woman is taller and wider than John. The woman has eclipsed Katerina and Bob. There is no way around her, and nothing to do but ask, Yes?

I have an enquiry, says the woman who is large and wide.

John notices that she has some saliva at the side of her mouth. He almost says something about it. But no, it might be permanent. It might not be accidental. This is not what John needed. Now there is a cocktail of adrenalin and inner conflict going around in John.

John moves around the woman, who is staring at him, who is staring at the side of her mouth. John is cowering backwards and sweating. John breaks free from the gravity of the woman and turns around to face Katerina. But John doesn't see Katerina. John sees Linda. Linda has a clipboard and is standing in John's way.

Is everything alright John? Linda sounds more inquisitive than concerned.

John screams the first thing that comes into his head: RAINBOW STRIPE NYLON DOOR CURTAIN!

Everyone in the library looks at John, who looks around at everybody in the library. John is sweating.

John sees Katerina bending around Linda to see what's going on.

John wonders if there is such a place as 'completely elsewhere'.

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