Last night I dreamed about work. It had never happened before. In my dream, I was in my cubicle, at my desk as usual, when I realize my feet are wet. I look down, and I see there is water on the floor. Within seconds, my computer and telephone go dead. I walk out of my cubicle to find out what is happening, when I realize I’m alone in the office. I wade through the water that is now ankle deep and check all offices and cubicles, but there is no one about. I call out to see if anybody can hear me. I head for the door, but it’s shut, and I can’t seem to open it. I go back to my cubicle to grab my mobile, but I’d left in my rucksack on the floor, and it’s already underwater.
I hear a buzzing sound coming from the cubicle next to me. I go to check, and I find a mobile phone vibrating on top of a desk. I pick it up, put it to my ear and I hear a weather report, the kind you get at sea. It warns of severe gales and rough seas. It’s an automated message, which replays over and over. I try to use the phone to make a call, but a metallic voice tells me I have no credit.
By this time, the water is up to my waist and it has become increasingly cold. I stand on my neighbour’s desk and peer over the partition into my own cubicle. And my heart stops. I see myself standing in front of my desk. I call out to my double, but I get no response. He is busy constructing something. It looks like a gigantic cardboard box. When he is finished it, he floats it on the water. He climbs on the desk, steps inside the floating box, and uses a ring binder to paddle away from me. I call after him. He doesn’t turn round but acknowledges me by lifting his arm up in salute.
I try to swim after him, but he is fast, and soon he is out of sight. The water level is getting higher and higher, and I try to open the windows, but they are locked. I throw a monitor at one window in an attempt to break it, but it just bounces off. A church bell starts ringing inside the office, and I follow its sound. The noise is muffled, and I realize it’s coming from inside an office. I try the door, but it won’t open.
As I’m pushing on the door, the bells stop ringing, and I see a St. Bernard dog swimming towards me, down the corridor. Its tongue is hanging out from the effort it’s making. I try to push it away, but it manages to lick my face affectionately. I find myself holding onto its collar as it swims away. It looks as if it wants to show me something. I hang on and soon we reach the break room, where it starts barking at a drinks dispenser. Inside the drinks machine, squashed against the glass, I see a man dressed like a ship’s captain. He is trying to say something, but I can’t hear him. He pulls out a pen and a piece of paper that he holds high so as not to get wet and he writes “Pull the Plug!” And he points to the water in front of him.
I dive down in freezing water, amid the tables and chairs where many a time I shared a coffee and a snack with colleagues. Under a chair, I see something shining. I move closer and see that it’s a coin, a quarter. I try to pick it up, but it won’t move. I climb for air, grab a knife from the kitchen sink and dive down again. After a couple of attempts, the quarter gives way, and the water rushes into the hole it was plugging at an absurd speed. Within minutes, all the water in the office has gone. I go back to my desk, collect my bag, use a mouse lead as a leash for the St. Bernard dog and I head for the door. I take out my quarter and cover the spy hole with it. A man in a suit opens the door from the other side. He stares at the St. Bernard looks at me and puts out his hand. I give him the quarter, and he disappears inside.