10. Escape Room

Tem quickly surveyed the room then turned around and tried the door handle. Locked. Okay. Tem surveilled the room again—slower this time. What was this room about? What was it for? Who was the former occupant. There were many clues scattered about... almost too many things to go through. Where to start?

Let's see... directly in front but against the wall was was a desk and chair. On the desk, a stack of papers—laser prints of something—and some paper samples. There is also a scattering of pens and pencils—in a variety of colours, one gridded A3 notepad, a neat stack of books and a laptop with the screen facing away.

Tem was also facing a window. Light streamed in, albeit diffused by a fully drawn, but thin curtain, creating a not unpleasant lightbox-like glow that lit up all four corners of the tiny space.

The wall opposite the desk was mostly made up of shelves. Colourful journals and large hardbacks laid back cover down in stacks were interrupted with the odd lumpen but nicely glazed sculpture and goofy figurines depicting random characters—too obscure to be easily recognisable.

Tem rounded on the desk following the predicted trajectory of the room's occupant, but didn't think to make us of the chair. Instead, they stood over the desktop and started going through the stack of papers. They appeared to be print outs of page layouts, any text was set in Lorem Ipsum... Tem checked twice... and then a third time, flipping each page over now even though the reverse was blank. Yep, all Lorem Ipsum...

Tem recalled reading a translation of the atypical Lorem Ipsum text which was reported to have first been used around 45 BC. It was strangely passionate text considered it's usage as filler today. Possibly abounding in clues as well. Tem decided the red herrings outweighed the potential within the text and kept rummaging. What were these books about... huh, they were mostly typeface specimen books and compendiums of design projects. This was a designer's modest home studio. Tem knew because they had a similar assortment of paraphernalia back in their own studio.

Okay, thought Tem, the scene is now set. We know where we are, now how do we get out? This is all very familiar, and deliberately so. What would I do in here... or back in my studio? Then they remembered the laptop. The screen was dark but a nudge would wake it up... okay... a password... What about 'Lorem-Ipsum'... um 'loremipsum'... lowercase, no space? ...'lipsum'? The screen flashed as the computer woke up.

The desktop was empty. No folders, no nothing. Tem had a flick through the hard-drive and the applications folder, the documents folder... it's like this computer had never been used. Tem looked at the default applications in the dock on the side of the screen. TextEdit? No previous files... Stickies?

Tem launched the application and an array of bright pastel coloured horizontal bars scattered themselves across the desktop. Gosh, there were a lot of them. Each one contained a word or short phrase. There were so many though that opening and closing them made little sense... they were a variety of colours though... Tem looked around the room... to the door... to the shelves... there was a pantone colour matching book laid flat next to a pile of journals. The exposed swatches were of a pale purple colour.

Tem opened only the purple stickies on the laptop screen... 'write', 'you', 'see', 'what', 'can'. There was also what looked like a website address, 'wwy.cs'. Tem entered the address into a browser. The browser window was empty except for an empty text box and a flashing cursor.

'wwy.cs'- Tem looked at the random words again and arranged them according to the website address, 'what write you can see'... 'write what you can see'! Uh, okay! Tem sat down in the chair and proceeded to write a comprehensive visual audit of all they could see from the position they were in.

Almost two hours later Tem had described in detail the objects in the room, the finishings on the floor, walls and ceiling, the door, the window frame... then went into great detail about the opaque, back-lit perspex 'window', spending time ruminating on what may be hidden away on the other side, out of view... before going into voluptuous spiels relating the experience of designing puzzles and games to theoretical texts on labour and the re-assigning of value systems... they catalogued every book and journal... every object on the shelves in a sort of order... before adding annotating the entire text using markdown to add emphasis and better define imbedded references.

And then, when they were quite ready Tem pressed the return key to signify their writing had come to a type of conclusion.

That's when the lock on the door clicked open.


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