Sunday, 27 October 2013

The filtration room

The filtration room was square and unadorned.  The walls were bare grey concrete, the ceiling was bare grey concrete, and a single filament light-bulb hung from it to illuminate the room.  There were a collection of metal pipes running in and out of the room via the floor and low down on the walls, and a couple of large metal boxes in the middle of the room.  They’d been painted the same green as the door, and they connected to the pipes.  Both of them were humming, and the drone was quite loud in here.  On both machines were a small sets of gauges, with little needles pointing at numbers, and both machines had large green and red push buttons.
“I was expecting digital,” said Playfair.  He sounded surprised.
“I guess you buy what you can afford,” said Miss Flava.  She stayed in the doorway while Playfair walked over to the machines and checked them.  He walked round the other side, and Miss Flava heard a sudden splash, and then a familiar cursing.
“Water leak?” she asked.
“Oil, by the looks of it,” said Playfair.  “You’d think that’s be a worry if this thing’s on all the time.”
“How about a thermostat?”
“Yes, and it’s covered in dust.”
“What setting?”
“Hard to read,” said Playfair, his voice quieter as though he were crouching down.  “I don’t actually want to disturb this one either, no point letting them know we’ve checking this already.  Huh.  It’s between 20 and 30.”
“We can get SOCO to stick a thermometer in the pool and check that way,” she said.  “Since we know it’s not been touched now.”
Playfair stood up and came back and they closed the door behind them and wheeled the floatation aid stand back in front of it.
“Now what?”
“I guess we wait for SOCO,” said Playfair, his tone of voice suggesting that wasn’t what he wanted to do at all.  “Can you find out where they are?”
Miss Flava pulled out her cell-phone and checked the reception.  She had three bars, which was much better than she’d expected all the way up here.  She frowned at it.
“That’s odd,” she said.  “Reception’s pretty good.  There must be a cell-phone mast nearby.”
“The clinic might have its own,” said Playfair.  “It’s expensive enough.”
“I would have thought they’d just have banned mobile phones as part of the package,” said Miss Flava.  “Seems cheaper and easier, somehow.”  She selected a number from her contacts lists, and dialled.

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