continued from previous
“That’s it. No more funny dinners, I’m getting you out of here” Olivia said to John in a serious and determined tone.
“I think even a rebel like you could use some time off the streets”. She was joking of course. John was more of a “laptop rebel”, like many writers and scientists. He would probably struggle to survive the brutality, not to mention the mundanity, of the day-to-day hunt for food, shelter and refuge from the looters. Not because he wasn’t brave or smart, but because he just didn’t care. A typical INFJ, he was too wrapped up in his own world of ifs and whats, too above his own ego to care about the small picture – to care about himself. But Olivia did.
“Besides, my building is virtually abandoned now. You can almost take a pick on which flat to choose. I hear there’s a studio overlooking the destroyed botanical gardens. Maybe a bit of inspiration for your next post-apocalyptic novel”- she smirked, looking unashamedly proud of her little joke.
John looked away, then downwards towards the ground for a few seconds. His greasy grey hair was forming silver ocean waves across the back of his head. There was a storm inside him, one that he didn’t want to face. Waking up from a brief daydream, he lifted his eyes to see a horizon of homeless people: some in their mattresses, others up and about. He turned to face Olivia without saying a word.
“You need somewhere decent to stay John”
He turned his head towards the ceiling as if looking for a sign, before a big sigh came out in the form of a loud exhalation. It was a sigh that had been building up for many days. Looking both defeated and grateful, he turned around and put on a happy face: “As long as there’s a coffee machine and a plug, I don’t mind if the walls are missing!” he replied, as Olivia burst out laughing.
“Yup, we got walls for sure! And…to top off my offer, there is a vacancy for a technical assistant in my lab. Well, at least this is the official job title you’d be given, unless you prefer Crazy Phytoplankton Evolutionary Biologist? No pressure, just a thought I had. But it would give me tremendous payback satisfaction to see my old professor working for me. No, seriously, It would be an honour to have you involved in the current research as an academic consultant of sorts.”
John’s eyebrows jumped up, as if they were getting ready to fly away from his eyes. “A flat AND a job?”
Olivia’s body language retreated into a defensive position. She suddenly realized that this could be seen as a bizarre charity gesture. Looking away, she tried to minimize the importance of her offer:
“You’ll be free to shape your role however you like, and get involved as much or as little as you want. Basically, this role is yours to shape, or you can quit in the first week too if you want to. I just think that we could make some interesting observations together”
(from the upcoming novel A New Earth)
to read from the beginning, go here
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books