Department Store

Sometimes, I dream of this department store. In its way, it reminds me of the old John Lewis in Liverpool. Everything in this store is antique, right down to the lifts - you'd call them elevators in the US. Old-fashioned things with big levers for up and down and rattling metal lattice cage doors. The tills are old mechanical types with big, clunky keys, and the butcher shop is very old-fashioned, with a big, crank-handled meat grinder dominating one end of the room.

This store is a place I have visited many times, and in my waking life I've handled old equipment like this before. Even a meat grinder with a crank handle, and an old-fashioned butter churn. Don't ask where.

Tonight, I was trying to get through the store in order to get to the other side, and the bus stand just outside the store heading for home. For some reason, the only way to get through the store was to go through the jewellery department on the top floor. Why the top floor was the only floor to connect to the bus stand outside was anybody's guess, but top floor it was. The curious thing was, I was in the company of a woman at that time - she looked like the actress Anna Chancellor - and she was stuck on this floor, trying to get to the top floor. I decided to bring her to the top floor with me.

Because I could not get into the lift - I was being blocked by some of the store staff - I did my walking-through-walls thing and grabbed hold of something jutting out of the bottom of one of the lift cars going up, while holding on to my terrified female friend with the other. Fortunately, the lift was going straight up to the top floor, so once it reached that floor I passed through the floor of the lift car, with my passenger in tow, and made sure she was safe before passing through the walls.

The top floor was well-lit, with white walls and a minimalist look. The lifts occupied a row in the middle of the floor, and I had no idea which way to go to get out. I had a feeling that I'd have got to the bus more quickly if I'd just gone around the store in the first place.

And then the alarm went off, and that was it.

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