A curious gem of a story by Ben Pester
‘Hey, drink this!’ Jonty was offering me a tube containing a liquid. I gave it a look. ‘It’s an essential part of the celebrations,’ he said. I continued to stare at the liquid.
‘It’s happening,’ Jonty said, with glazed eyes. ‘Simon can accommodate us. And when I say “us”, I mean the entire celebration.’
So that explained it, we were finally going to enter the door in the back of Simon’s head. I’d noticed the door there, just above his nape, on the day I joined. A little wooden-looking door, with a round knob. I’d seen it as a surprising growth, nothing more. I’d never spoken of the door, though Simon knew we stared. He once caught me raising my hand up to it, about to knock.
Simon was a wispy presence in the office, really. Apart from his door, unremarkable. Long ago he’d been a brilliant systems architect, but now he was a spent force. Hired for dependability over dynamism.
As he drifted past the glass meeting room, he did not look like someone who’d agreed to have everyone in the office enter his head through the door above his neck. I wondered how this agreement had come about. I pictured Jonty with his arm around Simon at some ill-advised afterhours drinks, berating him, disregarding all forms of decency, insisting that he be granted access.
‘Drink,’ Jonty said again. ‘I’ve seen you looking at it too. You want to go as much as I do.’
Jonty gestured out towards Simon’s desk, as though he was not a man at all, but some area of town.
I drank the liquid in the tube. The meeting ended.
The day passed in a breathless series of lurching bodily changes. I sensed that the whole company had become much less rigid in our atomic structure. The view through the windows had frayed. Enormous gaps appeared in everything that had once seemed solid. I now saw Simon’s door as a destination.
‘What do you think it will be like?’ I asked Tonia.
She whispered that she had already been in there to perform health and safety checks. ‘There is a free bar,’ she explained, ‘in our area. The whole inside of Simon’s head has been organised into areas. In some areas are his mother giving lectures, or his early experiences of life. There are several species of bird. We must only go to our allocated area.’
‘How long will we be inside?’ I asked, but Tonia was now fully engaging with the door in Simon’s head – using her lanyard to gain access. I took a breath, and wondered how I would perceive colour inside Simon’s head. I wondered if I would ever see my partner again, and, as I reached the threshold of his skull, and looked up at the now vast oak door, I felt a rush of yearning to be at home performing some menial task and for the celebration to be over.
This article is taken from Port issue 28. To continue reading, buy the issue or subscribe here