Life Plus 2M

Entry by: jaguar

2nd September 2016
‘I think we’ve got it all wrong,’ Will said, waving the printout at his oblivious colleagues’ heads.
‘For Christ’s sake Will, with all this evidence you can’t deny global warming. Water levels have increased by two metres, it's completely out of control.’ Rachel tutted at her computer screen in a manner that suggested she’d like to chew through Will’s jugular.
‘Who was the disciple who denied Christ three times – you’d be like that dude. You’ve seen the stats.’ Liam’s intensity saying stats left a dribble of his spit on Will’s face, just above his mouth.
Will wiped it off quickly. If Liam needed to bring the bible into everything shouldn’t he remember more of the detail? ‘Could you just hear me out?’ He looked round at their body language, Claire had folded her arms across her chest, Liam was rubbing his forehead in a repeated, jerky gesture, Rachel was so close to her computer she couldn’t possible read the screen. Their boss, Noah, had spread his legs so wide he almost stretched across the office. He had that smile on his face, the one that meant he was recalculating a departmental salary pie-chart in his mind and Will's slice was shrinking.
Noah stood up.‘Do share, Will. Hopefully we’ll be able to understand your tortuous reasoning and if you can summarise your usually rather too detailed spreadsheets in ten seconds that would be marvellous. Not that I don’t appreciate your brilliance in these fields. We all do, don’t we team?’ The team reluctantly nodded but their faces said something else.
‘Obviously there’s clear evidence water levels are rising.’ Will’s voice had gone all shreddy but he was pleased to see Claire unfold her arms. It was Claire he most wanted to impress, undress and wed but she was too pretty, clever and sorted for him. He loved her little v of a nose a bit like a bird’s beak.
‘Now tell us something we don’t know.’ Rachel yawned, fogging up her screen.
Will coughed. ‘Actually the amount of water on the planet is quite consistent.’
‘Idiot!’ Noah smiled benignly and patted Will’s head. ‘That can’t be so if water levels rise.’ He came round and stared intently at Will’s pale face. ‘Are you having a nervous breakdown? You’re meant to be a scientist.’
Why would someone called Noah work in global warming research? Couldn’t he see the arc thing wasn’t funny? Noah was still the boss so Will pictured the salary pie-chart in his head and took a deep breath. ‘I don’t think I am but I expect everyone says that. Bear with me a moment. Yesterday I measured a cycle route I’ve done hundreds of times. I did it as a teenager and I measured the distance then. I did exactly the same route and it was ten percent shorter.’
'Bully for you. They must have done something to the roads.’ Liam threw his hands up into the air.
When had he started hating Liam? Oh yes, the same time he starting loving Claire which was just after they all first met. ‘Of course I suspected the same thing. So I asked my mate at Mapquest to compare the distances they reported when they set up to the values now. Same thing – ten percent less.’
‘Same reason, surely?’ Liam pushed his chest out in a gesture that made Will want to take up boxing.
‘Agreed that’s possible so I got on to the map guys, the ones who produce globes, the Land Registry and they all said they’d seen the same thing and couldn’t work out why. Here – I can show you the emails.’
To a man (and woman) they turned their heads away from the emails except Claire who came and sat on them, her warm bottom just inches from Will’s hand. ‘Help us out Will. What are you actually saying?’
It was quite hard to breathe because she was all sparkly, smelling of perfumed lemons, very close to him. Her little nose was twitching towards him. It had just stopped mattering that the world was going to end quite soon. ‘The water isn’t rising. The earth is shrinking.’
Noah snorted. ‘We know what the earth is made of, Will. It can’t shrink. Implode yes – shrink no.’
‘Hang on a second, Noah.’ Claire lent forward and flicked through the football pitch of calculations Will was showing on his screen. ‘This data definitely says it’s shrinking fast.’
Will forced himself to lean away from Claire but it was still the happiest moment of his life so far. Then a cloud loomed on the horizon in the shape of Liam appearing at Claire’s shoulder. ‘Are you sure it isn’t plate tectonics? I mean we’ve only just established that the earth isn’t expanding.’
Will gritted his teeth in Liam’s general direction. ‘I’m not sure of anything except that our planet’s getting smaller. For all I know the core is actually an apple. I’m not the one who sends seismic waves through it. Rachel is.’
Rachel wheeled backwards from her screen. ‘Do you remember that analysis a couple of years ago that seemed to show the earth's core actually was an apple? Professor Gibson’s samples that were quickly discredited?’
Claire nodded. ‘That was sad, the way the establishment turned on him. We all know how easy it is to get samples contaminated.’
‘What if his findings were correct,’ Rachel’s voice had gone all squeaky, ‘what if we’re living on some organic thing like an apple at the end of its useful life?’
‘It doesn’t actually make any difference,’ Claire said shifting on to Will’s lap, ‘we only ever have the moment we’re in.’ She put her arms around Will’s neck and kissed him just as his alarm clock went off, tragically returning him to solid ground.