The Back Of The Store Cupboard

One drinker sits at the bar, finishing off a stout from two galaxies away. Broken glass, crisp packets and mud cover the floor from last night's boozing. I hope she doesn't mind me tidying up around her. 

I have taken a quick break to tell you a story. Last night we found a packet of flour in here. 

One evening I reached for some pickles at the back of the store cupboard, and my hand brushed against the soft packet. An unknown substance had fallen over it at some point, and stained half the bag green. The chef on the logo still beamed. My hand launched away from it, and knocked some tins over with a clatter.

There used to be disposal kits for situations like these. Thick blue rubbish bags with the consistency of raincoats. They didn’t even burn them on the ground for fear of contamination. Just lobbed them into a condemned spaceship and flew them into a star.

I got lucky. The bag must have sat here the entire time. Millions weren’t so fortunate.

Those first few weeks were the scariest part.  All across the universe, people changed. Ships arrived with half their crews turned. Report at breakfast time of cities with more undead than living. Our guests debated hypotheticals at the bar. Was it better to isolate yourself to avoid contamination, or stick together to escape if things went wrong?

Day by day the number of visiting transports dropped. No-one wanted to fuel spaceships when the fuel might kill them. Those that were still alive of course. Visitors had more scars and drank more whisky. Gran kept weapons behind the bar.

When they finally isolated the factory on that golden planet with a bakery that served so many constellations, the effect was almost calming. At least knew what not to eat. But there was a terrible sense of unfairness. That all those people who were baking cakes and making scones and eating bread and buying sandwiches had no chance at all.

That logo of a smiling baker went from the nod to calming Sunday mornings to a companion of the Grim Reaper. Imagine being part of the security team trying to stop the rioters smashing up the factory. Do you think they cared? This is pre Butter Mice. They had bigger problem thing to do.

The saddest element was the security team had a point. The crowd who attacked the factory shut down production, but in doing so released huge clouds of flour in to the air. Any surviving footage showed them vanish into a maelstrom of powder. 

No-one boarded the evacuation ships.

I fucking burned that bag.

We will get back to cocktail recipies next week. 

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