We lived in tents
those first summers.
Quonset Hut shaped
double skinned canvas
comfortable and warm
but no privacy or secrets.
Antarctica is a desert
snow swaps places with sand
cold for heat
dry – extremely. And windy
fire : a match, a butt, a spark – the lurking enemy.
The Fire Department was omniscient
nothing permitted which enhanced flammability.
At the beginning of each year
petitions for partitions
the people versus The Fire Department.
Every year, not back down
but wink – the Nelsonian eye.
But this year “no,” was NO
screens went up
fire officers ordered them down
nonnegotiable. Suck it up.
But they reckoned without our boss
a man to whom life was a chess game
peristaltically strategising and infinitely patient.
He factorised the quadratic
the authorities challenged
or disgruntled workers
Solution. Laws circumvented better than productivity lost.
He confers with one of the women
At the next room inspection
she arrives from the shower
towel almost slipping
“We have no privacy, no one is supposed to be here now
I thought it was safe at this time
last night a couple were making love. I could see their movements.”
then burst into tears. Spectacularly
Everybody is aghast
I don’t know what to do said The Captain
let us have partitions wails the towelled dripping one.
We are allowed screens. Immediately.
For the back story click Backstage