Monday January 2nd, 2012

The exercise:

Write something that takes place in: the elevator.

I forgot to mention it, but yesterday Kat and I celebrated our one year anniversary of moving into this place. And today, since I obviously missed renovating so much, I helped Kat's dad patch up a hole above the door in the basement. It's really needed doing since the start, but because it's mostly out of sight we managed to ignore it until now.

Hopefully that will cut down on the number of spiders down there, at least a little.


Surely, the elevator must be over its legal capacity by now. I was certain we couldn't cram more people in here two floors ago but people kept forcing their way in, unwilling to wait for the next escape shuttle to deliver them to their weekend.

Normally I just avoid this nonsense by taking the stairs down but I'd promised Olivia a ride and there's no way she was going to make it more than three flights before keeling over. Her bulk is taking up more than its fair share of this inadequate box, but at least she's got cushioning. The same can't be said for Mr. Bony Elbows in front of me.

All eyes are on the digital display over the door. No one speaks - it would just distract us from praying to reach the lobby without another -


Never mind. Maybe the folks on the fifth floor will have enough patience to... nope. Is that Todd in accounting making that groaning sound, or the overtaxed cables as they struggle to not drop us to our doom?

Note to self: never skip the stairs again. No matter what.

Assuming I survive this time.


Greg said...

Happy moving-in anniversary! You know, if you made a little nest for Mr. Wriggles, he'd probably keep the spiders under control for you. That's what pets do! ;-)
Your elevator sounds just like the tube-trains here in London. No matter how crowded, there's always people willing to make it worse. At least we haven't gone the japanese route yet, of people with special tools to force you further in....
I usually take the stairs too :)

The elevator
They called him the Elevator, even though it was a bit clunky and didn't abbreviate well. They tried calling him Elev, but he objected that it made him sound Russian, so then they tried El but Big Larry got all huffy about that. Finally they tried Vator but that sounded weird and a bit too Star-Warsy.
He wasn't fat, or even large. He was quite slender, and sometimes walked with a cane, usually when the weather was bad. He spoke softly, and in many meetings people had to fall silent in order to listen to him, which helped him command respect. He drank more coffee than was surely good for him, but seeing him with his coffee cup in hand was somehow just reassuring.
They called him the Elevator because he lifted people's mood. Just knowing he was around the office somehow made all the little crises a bit more manageable.
But when he handed in his resignation even he couldn't cheer the rest of the office up.

David said...

New Year's resolution - to write here a bit more. Happy New Year!

She looked at him. He didn’t care. She ran her tongue over her parched lips. He still didn’t care. She leaned back against the elevator wall, sticking her hip in his direction. He stared at his toes. She fixed her top, pulling it tight against her ample female frame. He coughed. She hiked her leather skirt up, half an inch more than her mother would have allowed. He noticed. She saw him look. He couldn’t keep his eyes off of it. She knew she had him. He stared intently at that one spot, the tear in her stocking. She felt her pulse quicken, ready for the kill. He looked up at her. She smiled, her ragged toothless best. He met her eyes. She saw it, that look. He handed her a dollar. She thought how most had that look. The elevator stopped. He got out. She sagged. He turned, “God Bless,” he said. The door closed. She would have to wait for one without that look. One without pity.

morganna said...

The shaft is so cold. Yet another one. How many is that today? And all cold. The building heat never seems to penetrate the cold concrete surrounding the elevator. It's been such a long day. And my cough is only getting worse. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.
My great-grandfather died in 1928 of pneumonia contracted while installing and repairing elevators. He had no life insurance, leaving a wife and three children nothing but a small farm on the eve of the Great Depression.

Anonymous said...

all brilliant entries -, some so sad, poingnant, c
mine is typical
of my style...

The Elevator

He took to elevator down to level omega where he led the strategic command force.
On his way home he took the elevator up to level two of the department store to buy his wife perfume.
Then he rode the elevator to his penthouse apartment where the view of the city seemed endless.
On retirement he built them a beach house fitted with an elevator to the top floor so his wife would not need to tackle stairs.

In some ways his life had been tough - tough choices to make in the living of it; but mostly he was a caring soul and on his deathbed he prayed he would be forgiven enough to take the elevator ride of all rides, upward....

Marc said...

Greg - that's an interesting office you've concocted there. Big Larry made me smile, as did the Star Wars reference :)

David - I like the sound of that resolution ;) Best of luck with it!

Excellent scene, very nicely built up.

Morganna - jeez, that's a rough way to go. I'd never have thought that was the sort of job that would lend itself to pneumonia.

Writebite - love the way you were able to connect it all with elevators. Cleverly done :)

Aholiab said...

The Elevator

Lisa darted into the elevator as the doors slid open, stabbing at the button marked “L”. The doors remained open, the mechanical brain not realizing no one else would be descending at this late hour.

Why won’t they close? Find the button with the obscure icon representing a closing door. Press it, hold it, lean against it. Watch the doors glide silently closed. Feel the floor almost imperceptibly begin to descend. Exhale.

A sob escapes her throat. She gasps, inhaling the smells lingering in the richly-carpeted enclosure - floral perfume, tangy cologne, air freshener, brass cleaner. Fingerprints on the highly polished interior distract her as she scrabbles in her purse for her pocket diary.

Why is it brass? Why not something rich, textured, easier to hide traces of visitors? How can “Bat Out of Hell” be elevator music? Where is my pen?

Scribbling the date. Listening to the pen scratch her fear and grief across the page. Ignoring the chimes as the floors pass. Feeling the deceleration.

Lisa wiped her eyes, brushed the hair from her face, and turned to a new page as the doors opened.

Marc said...

Aholiab - fascinating scene. You've got me hooked and wondering about Lisa and what's going on. Great stuff!

Nita said...

The building was tall for the area. At fourteen floors, it towered over its nearest neighbors. Jenna didn't mind taking the stairs, and they only needed to go up five floors, but David pulled her toward the open elevator at the front of the building. The doors had already started to close when a hand slid between them, and suddenly they had company for the ride.

The first girl was young, maybe a teenager, but so thin and small that she looked younger. She had two little girls by the hand, one walking on her own and a younger toddler that she more or less dragged into the elevator. Not surprisingly, the younger one was screaming.

David pulled her into the back corner, but not before Jenna saw the rest of them coming. An older girl, carrying a baby of indeterminate gender, held the doors open for two of the dirtiest little boys Jenna had ever seen. They were probably between six and ten and were engaged in a battle over who'd hit whom first. They hit, shoved, and yelled their way into the corner opposite Jenna, stepping on the already crying toddler on the floor. Her screams went up an octave or two, just in time for what Jenna assumed was their mother to follow them into the elevator.

From the look of it, baby number eight would be making an appearance in the not too distant future. 'Mom' shouldered aside the older girl, ordered the younger one to pick up the crying toddler, and started yelling at the boys. Mom yelled, the boys argued, the toddler screamed, and finally having enough, the baby screwed up its face and joined the chorus. The older teen gave Jenna a blank-eyed stare, and Jenna had the awful thought that she was used to this. This was normal for her.

The doors opened to the fifth floor, and David held her back while the rest of them all headed out of the elevator and down the hall. He hit the button for the fourth floor.


“I am not walking out there with them.”

They were silent until the doors opened again. “Are we walking back up?,” Jenna asked, hesitantly. She wondered if maybe he'd changed his mind.

“Yeah, and next time, we take the damned stairs from the start.” He turned toward the stairway door and stopped, pulling her around to stand in front of him. “Okay, look. I love you. I really do, and I know we both said we wanted kids and everything....”

She cut him off, horror clear in her voice. “Not that many.”

They were both only children. They'd talked a lot about having that big family they'd always thought they'd missed out on. Five minutes in that elevator had cured her, and apparently David, of those plans.

David took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Okay, then. So, we walk back up there, and we get married. Kids can wait. And then we can start with one. Maybe give it a few years. See how we handle one, first.”

Jenna smiled. “Sounds good. We'll be a great family of two.”

Marc said...

Nita - holy horror of an elevator ride! Great descriptions, particularly of the eldest child and the look/reaction from Jenna.