David Douce: THE HS just BC TOWER

The lift was rising to the 27th floor – limited access. This lift didn’t stop at the inferior levels, where ranks of screens glowed their eerie blue light, rows of electric dominoes waiting for a single push. It could stop at the retail floor, hairdresser, dry cleaner, but just
if you had the right code. Otherwise, express only to the 27th floor.

The lift doors breathed open. She entered the office which didn’t look like an office, and sat at the desk which didn’t look like a desk. Thank heavens for designers, she thought. Then said it out loud.

‘I’m so glad you said that.’ A voice from the far off reaches of the room. She had her reading glasses in place, so the rest of the room was a blur – but a very blue blur, not the usual white.

‘How did you get in? I’ll call security. You know you’ll be on the CCTV.’

‘Lo, I come on a sunbeam!’ he pointed out of the glass wall at the end of the office which didn’t look like an office.

‘I think you’ll find that you’re pointing at the landing lights for City Airport. Are you collecting for charity or something? Is that it? Save our feathered friends, no cruelty to parrots, swans who live outside the Levi Strauss factories? Indigo pollution, is that it?’ With the glasses off, she saw the huge blue wings extended across the window – sorry, glass wall.

‘I bring you glad tidings.’

‘We don’t do tidings here. Big data, probabilities, percentages, yes, tidings, no. Glad or otherwise.’

A couple of little flaps of his wings, and he produced a single white lily which he handed to her.

‘Stopped at the garage on the way in, did you?’

He knelt in front of her, and offered her the lily. It was a while since anyone had done this for her.

‘You have been chosen to bring forth the saviour of mankind, to be blessed amongst women, the son of God. You are with child.’

She blushed slightly beneath the make-up.

‘Look, if you’ve picked up on that Twitter story about the house-boy in the Gambia, it’s a fabrication, put out by someone who’s out to get me. He was just collecting the clothes for washing and got a bit too enthusiastic about it. Just a misunderstanding. It’s what they do in their tribes or whatever. I hadn’t heard him described as a god before, but thinking about it I can understand the mistake.’

‘No, that one hasn’t reached us yet. I am Gabriel, messenger…’

‘Oh, I see, it’s a delivery? I know Amazon are using those drones now, but I hadn’t figured they looked like this.’

‘No, the delivery will be around the end of December.’

She tapped the iPod on her not-a desk, opened the calendar app.

‘Well’ she said, ‘what a neat coincidence, looks like I have a clear window for a week around then, 24th or better 25th, that suit you?’

‘Indeed, what a coincidence, almost a miracle. Delivery should be within thirty minutes either side of midnight, traffic permitting.’

The powerful blue wings flapped again, the glass walls revealed a host of tubby flying babies with trumpets, more than could be counted in even the biggest of data fields. Then he was gone.

She made notes for her PA. ‘ Find nanny end December. Check if Vivienne Westwood are doing any swaddling clothes this season. Something edgy. Cancel winter break in the Gambia. A manger – see if Pret are doing any. Get me the gold price projections for year end. Frankincense and Myrrh – should be on the commodities exchange. Maybe hedge against any downside.’

‘So, all good’ she said, ‘just time for a double skinny pumpkin latte with caramel and sweetener before my 8.30.’

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