Monday, June 14, 2010

Door To Door To Door

Photo courtesy of Will Wiles.

The local authorities couldn't have anticipated it but they were rather shortsighted to heap all the doors together in the car park like that. Doors are trouble; they slam, they trap hands and break fingers, they get broken down, kicked in, locked up. They remember.

Doors are like mirrors: if you think about them too long, have too many of them together at funny angles, take them at a metaphorical level, they cause trouble and can twist the even the most sensible, steady mind. They really should have paid a little money for a wood chipper, or at the very least, a man with an axe. The unfortunate incidents of Wednsday night could have been avoided entirely.

Graham Barker was the first to notice something odd. He was returning from the park where he had just walked his dog when he saw the old woman five doors up from him emerging from one of the doors heaped by the main entrance. She was carrying a tea tray with three mugs of tea balanced on it and she clearly hadn't expected to serve up to Graham and his growling Staffordshire cross 12 floors below her living room. "What are you doing here?" she shouted at Graham, unreasonably, he thought. "What the fuck are you doing here?" he shouted back. She merely huffed, turned around and went back through the door, only to reappear at another door, mugs of tea rattling on the tray. She glared at Graham, clearly blaming him for this strange turn of events. "I'll call the council on you!" she snarled.

Another door opened and a small child ran through, screaming with laughter. He toppled over in surprise at finding himself outside, by the main entrance instead of in his bedroom where he was intending to hide from his brother. He looked up at Graham from the ground, bewilderment making him stammer: "Did... did... did I d-d-die?" he asked. Four grown-ups, unknown to Graham suddenly appeared at four other doors: a woman in a towel, fragrant and steaming slightly from her bath, a young man eating toast and wiping a butterknife on his trouser leg, an elderly man squinting at a Chinese newspaper and a teenage girl somehow managing to paint her nails, text a message on her mobile phone and eat a chocolate bar at the same time. They all looked around in confusion and then the shouting and gibbering started. Graham decided to go upstairs to his home, where he was going to smoke an extra strong spliff and pretend that he hadn't seen anything. Luckily, his ex-girlfriend had tried to set fire to his flat only the week before and she had managed to torch off half his front door. As he ducked through the gap into his flat, he was quite certain he wouldn't accidentally end up back at the main entrance, and he was gratified to find himself in his hallway with his five new shiny council refurbishment doors around him. He started assembling his spliff right there, next to the kitchen; it had been a strange afternoon and he didn't want to remember any of it.

For the rest of the day, the shouting, gibbering and crying continued by the pile of doors left by the main entrance. More and more residents were coming through the doors, expecting to be in their living rooms, bedrooms, toilets and kitchens but finding themselves by the main entrance with dozens of other confused and scared residents instead. Some were too scared to re-enter the building, others charged back into their homes defiantly, others blustered and screamed obscenities at the pile of doors, believing that somehow that would fix the situation.

One particularly dramatic neighbour proposed burning the doors, suggesting some of voodoo curse was upon them. By this time, half the building's residents had teleported through their doors to the pile outside the main entrance and having had no better idea themselves, they agreed. Petrol was brought out, a lighter was found, the blaze began. Residents stood around the fire, silent and fearful until the last door crumbled into the ashes. Then they began to drift back upstairs to their homes, only to find they couldn't get in. And the ones who stayed inside found they couldn't get out. They had burned their doors. No exit, no entrance. Graham leaned against the doorframe to his kitchen, looking longingly at the Jaffa Cakes next to the sink, his spliff now down to a soggy half-inch in his fingers. He couldn't go in there; he tried but how ever many steps he took, he'd find himself back in the doorway again like on an infinite, futile loop. The same with the toilet and his bedroom. He sat down in his hallway, surrounded by doors he couldn't walk through and dragged deeply on his spliff. His last thought as he drifted into uncomfortable sleep on the floor was that he was going to have to call the council in the morning... the new doors were rubbish...

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