'Look, but don't look'

Utterly befuddled, George tried to preoccupy himself with work for the rest of the morning. With some success: the work was nothing if not mind-numbing. Opening up an excel document on his cubicle’s PC, he started the reformatting of some accounts he’d been forestalling for some weeks now. Painstakingly dull as they were, there were at least formulae determining where everything belonged on the spreadsheets. He soon lost himself in the numbers. But lunch-time rolled around soon enough and – no sooner had he logged-off his PC – George found he could once again think of nothing but that door.

Sidling towards the water-cooler – perfunctory smile as Jocelyn swept busily past – George stopped and squinted. He could see the door quite clearly; no question of that. But there was something slightly odd about it. Of course, it’s just being there was odd, but there was something else.

George took a step backwards and cocked his head to an angle. It wasn’t that the colour and texture of the door was incongruous with its surroundings. If anything, the doorway was particularly smoothly rounded into the wall; almost seamlessly so. But it just didn’t look right. It was something like the sensation George had experienced whenever he had tried to look into those 3-D pictures that everyone had been so excited about a few years ago. The ones you had to ‘look at, but not look at’. George had always found this advice particularly unhelpful; alternating between squinting and gazing blankly at the computer generated squares and experiencing nothing but a mildly disorientating awareness of there being something just beyond his field of perception.

And that was what he was experiencing now.

Until his concentration was unceremoniously broken.


Bill had leapt in front of the door, and was staring rather strangely at George. It took a moment for George to realise that Bill was mimicking him.

‘What the frack are you looking at Georgie-boy? You look like you’re really getting into that wall!’

George blinked the squint out of his eyes; re-orientating on Bill.

‘Not the wall, Bill, the door. I’m looking at the door.’

Bill shared a sidelong glance with Fiona, who George now noticed standing on the far-side of the water-cooler. He looked back at George, eyebrows raised.

‘O-k-ay then! The door! He's getting into the door’  

‘You’ve just got to look… but not look…’ George tailed-off.

‘Right George look but not look… helpful advice! Maybe I'll try that tonight George… and maybe you could write a book about it?!’

 Bill and Fiona walked off laughing, leaving George by himself again, staring at the door. But something Bill had just said stayed with him

The End

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