It is a few years ago and John is sat in The Office with The Boss. There had been an incident and, sitting in that chair still sweating and mouth dry, John is now staring at the faceless silhouette sat between him and the window.
It is the week after the incident and John has gone to See Someone About It.
The lady smells of sticks that get burned and replaced by other sticks. John has helped other ladies like this one find what they were looking for in the library before. But this one has clearly been chaining these sticks one after the other twenty-four hours a day for years, and is now here to try to help John.
The lady tells John to close his eyes. John closes his eyes then opens them again straight away.
“Is everything alright?” asked the lady.
John gulps. “Yes thank you.”
The lady doesn’t accuse John of lying; she just asks what it was he saw.
“Colours…colourful nonsense. Usurper…library…search…EVERYTHING!”
The lady lights another stick and tells John to clear his mind. The lady then asks him to think of an empty field, and to place himself in it. The lady tells John to breathe slowly and deeply, and as John breathes slowly and deeply, she tells him to think of his favourite thing ever. John thinks of Dewey Decimal Classification. He thinks of Dewey and breathes slowly and deeply and smiles.
It is a week after. John has not yet been back to The Library. He is back with the lady and her burning sticks. The lady brings out a laptop and John eyes it suspiciously. The lady tells John to close his eyes and go back to his field. He is back in the field and breathing deeply and is smiling. He touches the grass and thinks of 823.914. He looks at a tree and shouts “634!”
“Excuse me?” asks the lady.
John doesn’t answer.
“John? John are you there?”
“I’d like you to come back to the room now, I would like you to look at something. Just open your eyes slowly.”
John opens his eyes slowly. The room comes back into focus. The lady is standing in front of him. She has the laptop in her hand. The lady turns the laptop round so that John can see the screen. The screen is white and there is one word on it. John starts to sweat. The lady can see that John is getting wound up.
“Now John, whenever you see this in the future, I would like you to breathe deeply and slowly. Breathe deeply and slowly. That’s right, deeply and slowly. Every time you see this in the future you are to breathe deeply and slowly and think of your field, and think of how calm you are in that field. Breathe deeply and slowly and take yourself to where you are happiest. Close your eyes, and breathe in. Hold it there and think of your field. Then open your eyes and slowly breathe out. Okay?”
John’s eyes are closed and his face is going blue.
“It’s okay John. You can open your eyes and breathe out and everything will be okay.”
John is in the field. Katerina is there. She is wearing a white dress and walking towards him with flowers in her hair.
John opens his eyes and looks at the screen. Then he looks at Mike who is looking back at him like someone looks when they’re watching a film where they know someone is about to die really horribly.
John looks at the screen. Then back at Mike, then at Katerina. Katerina is looking at him like someone looks when they watch, from the other side of the room, a priceless vase falling to the floor. John is completely calm. He closes his eyes again and looks around the field. Everything is fine. Everything is as it should be. John leaves the field and comes back to the Computer Room. He puts his hand around Katerina and kisses her. Mike watches Katerina try to get him away. Then he watches Katerina slap John really hard and storm out of the room muttering angrily.
John turns to Mike. Mike doesn’t know where to look except back at the screen.
“Fucking Google,” John says.