The isolation booths were one of the many curious features of the Complex. They were simply small rooms, about five feet on a side, with motorized sliding pocket doors. The rooms were light beige inside and out, and furnished with two chairs and a small table. They were soundproof and surveillance-proof, and they were designed for self time or small meetings that needed to be private.
When I got to the booths, all three were occupied. I sat down to wait on one of the benches that lined the wall opposite the booths. I was in luck, for one of the booth doors slid open after only a few minutes. Two women walked out. I waited for them to be a respectable distance away before getting up, crossing the hall, and entering the now vacant booth.
At least, I had assumed it to be vacant. When I popped my head in, I saw Barbara sitting on the table. It gave me a start.
I pushed the button on the wall and waited for the door to slide closed. When it had, I sat down in one of the chairs. “How’d you get in here?” I asked. Teleportation into and out of an isolation booth was not possible, even if the door was open.
Barbara seemed pleased with herself, but refused to reveal how she had eluded me. “My methods of going from point A to point B are not available to your scrutiny,” she explained.
“So, are you going to be popping in and out wherever I go?” I said with a smirk.
“I will do that which I deem necessary,” Barbara replied stiffly.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “I was only teasing.” Barbara nodded her acknowledgement. I continued. “So you’re working for the God of Toast?”
“I serve him,” replied Barbara. “I have been sent to offer you assistance in your task of removing the fish from the sky.”
“Why does the God of Toast care about that?”
“He did not tell me why,” said Barbara, “and I hesitate to speculate. I know only that the matter of the fish in the sky is of some importance to him. As are you.”
I became perplexed. “If I’m so important to him, why can’t I remember anything about him?”
It was Barbara’s turn to be perplexed. I briefly explained what had happened in the One True Toaster Factory and how my memory of my time with the God of Toast had been erased. When I had finished, Barbara shook her head. “This information worries me,” she said. “To my knowledge, nothing like what you describe has happened before.”
We sat a moment in sober silence. Then I said, “So what happens now?”
“You have much work to do,” said Barbara. “Now that we have become acquainted, I think it would be best if I left you to get started as you see fit.”
“When will I see you again?” I asked.
“Are you always going to be cryptic like this?” I said, mildly exasperated.
“No,” she replied.