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Dreams of a Leisure Society

Simpson held his mask to his face and dropped with a crash into the grip of cold water. The weight of his equipment was lifted suddenly. It swayed now on its straps. He caught hold of the ladder and started the slow descent into darkness and pressure. The growling and pinging he could hear was the sound of the sea around the massive iron of the rig.

The correct way to breathe was slowly, in and out, like the strokes of an oarsman. The loud bubbles of each exhalation rose together, a silvery spinal column snaking its way back up to the surface. Simpson pressed a button on the side of his watch to check his depth. He read the dim red figures in a square industrial font like something from the Alien films: almost there. The weight of water tightened around his skull. His ears whined. He adjusted them, holding his nose and blowing, and the painful lumps of pressure shifted. More downward steps, the ladder reaching into depths that were out of sight. He checked his watch again. This was the place. He searched around, cloudy particles racing through the narrow beam of his torch, and found it, the crack he had to work on.

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