I could actually feel my cartilage


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Usually, when the fire alarm is called at work, we groan and stand up to see if anyone is taking it seriously, and finally wander out when the office fire wardens with their red helmets come and tell us to leave. But this time it was different. The voice on the PA sounded....worried. Unrehearsed. There had been and incident on another floor and we needed to leave now. A small edge of panic in his voice that made me grab my bag, my coat and head for the fire exit. Everyone else was doing the same. Twenty-four flights of stairs down. Fast as we can, people pouring in the exit doors from other floors along the way. Flights of identical concrete, and unfortable thoughts of September 11. Finally we're out in the street, a teeming mass of grey public servanthood assembling in the park. After the clutch of fear in our chest, it is a perverse irritation to find there is nothing wrong. No fire Engines. No plane in side of building. Eventually, when we are out in the assembly park and everyone has got their cigs out and are wondering if we should all just shoot off to the pub, police and fire engines do come screaming along and road is blocked and we wait, and wait, and wait. A gas leak, which is interesting because no-one realised that the office building has gas. The queue for the lifts is so long that I realised that by the time I got back, it would be time to leave again, so I just left. Mum phoned the office, and got the impression that I had gone to choir practice. Close – Chiropractic appointment.


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