17: A Hankering For Pernod

Linda stands in the corridor outside The Office. Being in the lift has made her feel really light, like she has stepped out onto another planet with gravity much lower than Earth’s. She lifts her leg out in front of her and slowly lets it fall back to the floor. She does this again, with her other leg, and then with her arms. She pretends she is a puppet. She feels like she is swimming through a vodka slush puppy.

Light usually glows through the window of The Office door. This light painstakingly forces itself through the layers of dead skin cells and sweat that have collected on the glass. Linda always gets a hankering for Pernod whenever she stands outside The Office. But not now. The light is missing. There is only blackness beyond the door.

Linda thinks about knocking. She knows she should be in control now. She is the Health And Safety Warden, and this is definitely a Health And Safety issue. Emboldened, she makes a fist and raps on the door twice. The noise of the knocking sounds like drums. It fits so perfectly with the music. She knocks again, louder, and hears the notes soar up to meet the knocks. The music is wrapping itself around her. She starts to sway. She takes the roll of cling film out of her dungarees pocket and uses it to tap the walls on either side of her. She spins then, eyes closed, limbs flailing. She moves up and down the corridor like a whirling dervish.

She doesn’t hear the high-pitched screech coming from the lift shaft. She doesn’t see The Boss slip silently into The Office and the door click shut.

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