Friday 2nd December 2011
The centre’s postal service
THUS began the round of tests to satisfy Guvver Munt that I was not a carrier of infectious diseases or another nation’s secret weapon, and that I had a brain, heart, liver, uterus, blood, nerves, muscles, and all other attributes common to adult females of the species Homo sapiens.
The problem of my unusual additional feature, Norman surmised, would keep scientists excited for years.
The next four days were full of fascinating discoveries and comforting gestures. Although I never went anywhere without guards, Norman insisted they remain outside the office – which also served as my bedroom, a mattress and sleeping-bag being provided.
I would be returned to this room at the end of each day, there to discuss with him matters ranging from pathology to parachutes, from migration to microscopes, to something called a ‘bone of contention’, which, I later discovered, had nothing to do with anatomy.
It arose from an act of mischief on my part, after he had shown me round the centre on that first afternoon.
“Now, Virgulle, is there anything you need? Food, drink, entertainment?”
I requested a cup of tea, which he ordered by telephone, and writing materials, to which he said I should help myself from his desk.
“Good. I’ve got letters to finish. You do your writing and I’ll do mine. Then we can both relax.”
Tom had explained to me how letters required stamps, which were costly, adding that he’d often saved Jenny this expense by hiding her letters among those sent from the newspaper shop.
So, while Norman tapped his computer keys, I wrote three short messages. When he left the office briefly..
“Missing file. Be right back.”
…I placed an addressed envelope among other items in the ‘Outgoing’ tray on his desk.
His letters completed, Norman summoned a security officer, entrusting him with the task of taking the envelopes away to be stamped and dispatched.
“Get you anything, Miss?”
“No thank you,” I gave the officer a broad smile. “I am happy.”
Which I was.