I’m going to blame the cheese, no matter how little I had or indeed how unsubstantiated the whole idea of cheese dreams might be. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I was an architect, tasked with building a library in the sharp winter sunshine of Bangalore. It was probably on the site of one of my schools, but all I can remember is the sunlight filtering through the leaves of a rain tree, all soft gold and backlit green.
My foreman (for he was a man) was a bluff old sailor, a ex-pirate seadog with an accent to match, and we were inspecting the shelves for the library, which were about twenty meters high, and built out of whole logs, rather like a box frame.
“Arrrr, matey,” said the foreman, “these logs are bent and all.”
He had a point. The thing looked like some sort of twisted sculpture rather than anything you’d see in a sensible library. They creaked when we tried to lift them, and buckled under their own weight.
At this point, I caught sight of myself in a mirror. It was unremarkable, except that I had a little linear constellation of moles – or perhaps freckles – running across my forehead, down my nose and curling around one side of my mouth. I didn’t find anything unusual about this, so we continued with the blame game.
The foreman was angry. And what’s more, he knew who was responsible. “It’s ‘im. All ‘is doing” he snarled, pointing at one of the labourers, dressed in a 17th century British Army captain’s coat. “That geezer in the red. ‘Is fault”.
The redcoat didn’t offer any defence, so the foreman leaned over to speak into a smartphone that was sitting on a rock.
“Arrr, Siri, what be the punishment for a man who makes shelves like these?”
I’ve never owned an iPhone in my life, and never used a voice assistant, but back came the reply, in Siri’s best dulcet tones:
“He shall have to learn his trade again, or be suspended in rock oil.”
“ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! Will ye go back to school, ye hound, or will ye suffer to be dropped in an eight-foot deep tub of rock oil, WITHOUT ANY SHACKLES???”
The foreman then looked confused, and leaned back over the phone.
“Siri, what’s rock oil?”
“Rock oil is a light mineral oil of low density, insufficient for the flotation of the human body” said Siri, and thus endeth the cheese dream of today.