Saturday 26 June 2021

Debut Flash: 'Power and Control' by Michelle Garrett

I press my finger to the mirror to see if there’s a double reflection. When I was a child, someone told me this is how you could tell if it was a two-way mirror.

I use my earring as a toothpick to show Marissa how to get rid of the sesame seed in her teeth. ‘But be careful of dropping it in the sink,’ I say. We inspect our teeth in the mirror, and I remember the dream where I was brushing my teeth, and they crumbled out of my mouth into the sink like pebbles, embarrassing everyone in my dream so much they had to look away.

I can’t remember if a double reflection of your fingertip, or an absence of the double reflection, means it’s a two-way mirror. I imagine a man in a blue uniform sitting in a plastic chair on the other side of the mirror, waiting to see if I do something wrong. We all have secret nightmares.

A small pile of shit is in the middle of the toilet floor when we get to work. Everyone steps around it. I feel bad that I’m leaving it for the cleaners to deal with, even though it isn’t mine. A week later, another pile of shit appears. Marissa Googles why people do this and discovers it is about power and control. She says we should put a hidden camera behind the mirror. I’m silent. I know it’s not a serious suggestion but still.

Someone has put a bowl of potpourri scented with coconut on the shelf above the sink. An employee I don’t know washes her hands next to me and we exchange looks in the mirror over the South Seas teal and aqua woodchips. I leave without thanking her for the effort.

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