betty found a cafeteria and purchased a cup of coffee and an orange scone, for a price she considered exorbitant.
she wished she had a strawberry ice cream cone, stared into space, and …
suddenly she found herself in an installation in the museum, and people came and looked at her as she consumed endless cups of tea and coffee and slices of white cake with chocolate frosting.
a little girl in a blue dress with wide stiff skirts and with a yellow bow in her hair, whom betty recognized as her great-grandmother, approached her and told her she could take a break.
betty followed the little girl-great-grandmother to a little room. there were a few chairs and small tables and a small bookcase in it.
“this is the break room,” the little girl announced.
“how long is my break?” betty asked.
“my name is caroline,” the girl said, but betty already knew that. “there are some books over there if you would like to read them.”
“thank you,” betty replied.
“as you consume large quantities of white cake with chocolate frosting in the installation, you might not need any sustenance,” the little girl continued. “but if you suddenly crave some more solid fare, such as roast beef with mashed potatoes and summer squash, or a roast oxen, there is a button on the wall above the bookcase. press it, and a chef will appear.”
“thank you,” betty repeated.
the little girl-great-grandmother disappeared, without having answered betty’s question as to how long her break would be.
betty wondered if any other employees or people in the installations would join her.
but after a few minutes none did, and she went over to the bookcase.
there were only a few books in it.
most of them were catalogues of previous exhibits in the museum. the others had plain white covers with the museum’s name as publisher.
they were labelled novel #1, novel #2, novel #3, etc.
betty was disappointed. she would have much preferred novels by jodi picoult or jennifer weiner or wally lamb. but she took novel #1 and novel #2 with her over to the most comfortable looking chair.
there was a curious metal object beside the chair which betty had not really registered on betty’s consciousness before.
it had a heavy looking round base about five inches in diameter supporting a shaft about three feet tall which was topped by a half sphere which had what looked like a pair of flaps in its flat surface.
betty could not make out what it was for. would the flaps open to catch flying insects like wasps?
surely there were no wasps or other flying insects in the museum? unless, betty thought, they were part of an installation and might go astray?
betty decided not to touch the curious object and sat down and opened novel #1.
there was no author identified on the book, and no blurbs or other descriptive matter on the cover.