55: The One True Grail
The kitchen is a poky little room. It is just like a lift, but a bit more compact, and minus the ability to move up or down. It doesn’t have the benefit of sliding doors, either. In accordance with Fire Regulations, the door has to be a Fire Door, which means it has to be a big, heavy lumbering thing that is impossible to prop open. And even if it could be propped open, it would be Against All Regulations to do so. The room has to be vacuum sealed at all times. The occupants have to survive on whatever air is in there for the duration of their stay. The kitchen is a place that is used for the smallest amount of time possible, and only in moments of dire need. Tea is one of these dire needs. Tea is the reason that brings anyone and everyone to the almost-cupboard. They come in search of the one true Grail - a Morphy Richards Accents stainless steel jug kettle.
Standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the kettle are Garry and Katerina. They are watching the water, lit up all blue, hoping it will start to bubble soon. Tea is needed and it’s needed fast. John has lost his marbles and Garry has a lovely new lady friend in need of rehydration. Katerina is in need of something sugary, too. She can feel her blood sugar reaching an all time low. She has been running to and fro all day. Standing in the blue glow of the kettle finally allows the fact that she is exhausted to seep into her consciousness.
‘What a day,’ she says, just to say it.
‘Yep. As first days go, I’d say this was a pretty pigging spectacular one.’ Garry is grinning. He can still feel the soft kiss on his cheek. He is happier than he’s ever been.
‘I think I just want to go home,’ says Katerina. ‘Do you reckon it’s all safe now? I’ve not had a lunch break, so I could technically just go now.’
‘I don’t know. There are still lots of questions that need answering. Do you know what the music was? Or where it’s gone? Or where it came from? I’m new here so I don’t know how everything works exactly...’
‘Didn’t you have your Induction?’
‘Yes, I think that’s what it was. But all this happened after that. And I didn’t get the chance to read all the Staff Manual.’
The kettle purrs and then clicks off with a faint whistle. Katerina pours the boiling water into four cups. The tea brews, curls of steam rising up to the strip lighting. After stirring in enough milk and sugar to keep a woolly mammoth alert, they both leave the tiny room, letting the door crash firmly, heavily shut behind them.