15: This is More Than Stab-proof Underwear and Glory

Linda watches John press the button on the door. She watches the revolving parts slowly stop revolving and click shut. She is finding it hard to concentrate. The noise is wrapping itself around her thoughts. The noise, she thinks, has a taste too - something brightly coloured and gelatinous, something very sweet. The noise is a little bit like falling asleep on a warm beach with a pink and red cocktail in your hand. A cocktail with cherries and crushed ice and two umbrellas in it. And a stirrer in the shape of a parrot.

Linda thinks about cocktails. She wonders if the bottle of Gin and the lemon she hid in bottom of the padded Story-seat is still there. She is only dimly aware of Bob, issuing commands and making the staff and borrowers bring the contents of their handbags and lunch boxes and empty them out on the counter. She hears someone say, 'we're going to need rope, and lots of it,' and then she is back on the beach, listening to the ice rattle against the side of her glass.

Linda's eyes are drifting closed when she realises that Bob has put himself in charge, and Bob has chosen seconds and thirds in command. All men. Which is sexist. And this is something that as the Equality and Diversity Representative, she has a duty to challenge. And as the Designated First Aider and Health And Safety Warden, she, really, should be in charge. If something is going on. She opens her eyes wide and drags her attention away from the music.

Linda thinks about going Upstairs. She might need to knock on the door of The Office. She might need to get The Boss. She feels scared. But she should be in charge and being in charge sometimes means making decisions that are uncomfortable. Sometimes even unpopular. Being in charge can be a thankless task. It is not all about green face-paint, stab-proof underwear, and glory. That is something, she thinks, Bob has clearly overlooked.

Linda slips away from the others while they care counting how many borrowers are in the building, steps into the lift, and presses the button for Upstairs. Below her feet, rattling up the hollow tube of the lift shaft, she can hear rumbling that seems to be coming from the Basement Forbidden Area.

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