First Draft: Fea checked her watch: 20 minutes to go, and then she can close up the front desk and turn in. She looks up from the desk as two young’uns slip into the entrance hall and creep by stifling giggles as if they were entering a library. Fea smiles and repositions her soldering iron to finish up the project she has been working on all night. She rarely needed to look up from the reception desk.
There isn’t much trouble at St. Johns peep hole. The regulars have long since got the measure of the place, and newcomers quickly pick up on the vibe - firm but fair. As she flows solder into the end of a narrow bore tube, Eric breezes past the desk, pack on one shoulder, and gives Fea a wide smile. His face looks at once kind and slightly demonic in the red light of the entrance hall. Fea glances down quickly pretending to be performing a tricky hack. The red light makes it difficult for Fea to read people, something she’ll admit that she isn’t particularly good at in day light. Eric has 20 years on Fea, but she still thinks he is kinda cool. He is in better shape than all but the keenest movers she sees in the hole.
Fea’s shift on the door at St. Johns has earned her two free nights peep, or one short notice privacy peep. She has collected about 2 months worth of peeps, which means she will be able to take on some speculative work in the weeks ahead. She has a few ideas, and with a guaranteed roof, she can follow them up without worrying to much about rep damage; always the danger with spec work were the whole project could just collapse. The last plain-jane job she worked wouldn’t have touched her if she didn’t have at least a 4.8 for completion. Rep rules.
The sound of a marsh warbler emanated from Fea’s watch telling her that it is 3 am, the end of her shift. The next shift, 3 til’ 9am, was the quietest of all, and whoever worked it usually did so from the peep floor. 3 til’ 9, nobody got in the building without real secure ID, so there wasn’t really any need for people on reception. Tool roll rolled and packed away, she carefully folded the small structure she had been working on. She’d have it moving in the next couple of days, then she’d see what it could really achieve.
Sack on back she headed to the main peep hole, a 18th century church, and opened the thickly painted door as quietly as she could. The interior of the hole is lit very dimly by red luminous paint up lighters. She can clearly see the sleeping forms scattered across the floor that was once filled with row after row of wide benches. The pungent air is filled with the sound of 100 people breathing and the soft rustle of smart fabrics. Making her way to the far side of the hall, her sneakers make no sound on the carpeted walkway which runs its length. Fea’s swag is rolled up and stored in her storage hole, but first she heads to the changing room to brush her teeth and jama up. Fea knows that the harsh changing room lighting will give her an instant ice-cream headache after an evening of red light, so she doesn’t bother switching them on, instead making do with the light from her phone balanced on the sink. No light enters from outside: nobody is around to trigger them.
When she has changed into her jamas, she heads back to pick up her swag. It is easy to spot because it’s the last one in the grid of cubby holes what cover the far wall of the sleep hole. Above the storage units, the patchy remnants of a stained glass window stretch to the apexd end ceiling, although most of the glass is gone, and replaced hasty repairs of expanding foam. She pulls out the swag, a round peg in a square hole, and backtracks to a spot close to the main entrance. The under floor heating has all has long since dissipated any warmth and feels somewhat hard and uninviting, but Fea knows that once in her swag she will be as toast and soon asleep. She rolls out the swag and sits on it whilst she removes her sneakers and places them in a little carbon silk bag. Kneeling next to the swag she scrolls through her watch to the app that will inflate the swag. Activated, the upper layer of the swag starts to rise as if inflated from within until it has formed a tube into which Fea can crawl. She places her sack in the swag’s entrance and retrieves her ear-buds from its inside pocket. wriggling down into her sleeping bag causes her pillow to inflate. She pops her phone and watch into the inner pocket, but not before tapping the app that causes the swags fibres to relaxes back into a plain inanimate cloth.
Fea has no need to set an alarm, and she knows the ear buds won’t let the sound of the early risers disturb her sleep. She can feel her body heat warming up the swag, and she drifts for a while thinking about the mechanism she has created that must surely boost her rep, and could surely make her enough money to get her own place, or more likely a ticket to the other side of the world.