Open Market

Wednesday Write-in #10.

Sitting up on the 43rd floor is like sharing shoulder room with the gods but they realise the fog isn’t going to lift sometime around lunchtime. Particles of it sit heavy and sly on the floor to ceiling windows. They can’t see more than a foot beyond that – the handful of skyscrapers they share this height with are completely obliterated. An endless, obsessive loop of BBC News 24 plays over and over by the photocopy station. They find out first that the schools have closed. A team of business support girls go out to pick up their children, bundled tight into coats, scarfs and hats. They don’t come back. Then they hear that retail and central housing units are being evacuated. Up there in the sky, nobody’s come to evacuate them. The TV claims it’s suffering from technical difficulties and promises a speedy return to its coverage which has just begun to focus on the same 23 second video clip procured from a terrified TopShop employee on Argyll street:  A lone dark figure walking into a building and walking back out with a child in its arms before completely disappearing. Then the lights start – as blinding as they are compelling, they transfix everybody, pulsing from beyond the fog, burning the same three words over and over in their irises and behind their eyelids as they plaster themselves around the edge of the trade floor. They are so compelled that they don’t hear the crushing sound of reinforced steel and concrete breaking, nor do they notice the shudders which send trillions of pounds of trading data crashing to the floor. By the time they know what’s happening, the fog is clearing, and so are the clouds, and the sun  and the moon, all of them getting smaller and smaller until they’re pinpricks, less than that, a dust mote, microscopic, as they drift silently into oblivion.


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