The room was brightly lit but still felt sombre, even dark. The faces of those silently busy at their tasks looked up neither at each other nor their subject. The task and the time was everything.
With nothing left to do, all movement in the room stopped and without that distraction the quiet tension was amplified so that the very air felt charged with electricity, as if lightning were about to strike.
Eyes were on the clock, then to the floor and then some to the telephone on the wall nearby. The telephone which had a single purpose.
The clock ticked onwards free of influence or pressure, its eternal constance as reassuring as it is relentless. Another minute left behind and clasped hands were gently flexing or lightly straightening already pristine and pressed suits, previously steady feet creaked polished leather and shifted nervously.
One more minute and the figures suddenly moved with a mechanical purpose towards the execution of their next, simple, but final duties. When the telephone rang, to observers it might have felt as if a firecracker had been thrown into a wake, but there was no more effect on the floor than a cessation of the event.
The phone was answered with a flick of his eyes at the clock. Close.
“Yes?” He listened for a few seconds.
“Yes” The receiver was replaced.
He spoke to the room.
“A new MOT certificate has been issued, the hearse has been granted a reprieve of up to year pending other repairs and ongoing appeals.”