The following post is entirely fictional. The characters and situations are made up.
As the elevator doors slowly close, I start to let out a sigh of relief that this ride will be a solo one.
The day has been long and I really don’t need the small talk today. I just want a quiet, uneventful elevator ride to my floor so I can hide in my office until the end of the day working on odds and ends. I don’t need anymore social time.
But before I can get the sigh completely out, a big hand jams itself between the doors and a long, hairy arm slinks in and cajoles the doors apart.
Attached to this particular beasty arm is a particular mouth that I cannot stand. It is big, loud, and condescending. And I avoid it at all costs.
Which is unfortunate since this mouth is attached to my boss.
At least it’s a short ride. Even if it talks to me, I don’t have to be here with it long. It gets off on the fourth floor and I am going up to six. I just have to last three dings of the bell until it exits.
I half smile and nod as he lumbers into the car. My eyes quickly glance at the capacity limit posted on the wall as I wonder how many of him would put this elevator into a downward plummet to the basement.
I snapped out of it when he loudly exclaimed, “HEY! HOW’S IT GOING? ”
Why is he always so damn loud?
He wasn’t carrying anything with him, just his fancy pants phone that he was studying when he asked me how “it” was going. Clearly if it didn’t impact him? He didn’t care.
“great,” I muttered since he wasn’t listening anyway.
I looked up at the numbers as they lit up individually, moving slowly from left to right. The “3” was bright. The next one was his.
And then? There was a screeching noise. That metal against metal friction that can make your toes curl. The grinding squeal ended in a thrusting jolt that sent both of us a little off kilter.
I grabbed the rail in panic that we would start to fall, but we didn’t. We just stopped.
The Mouth uttered and expletive and started pushing all the buttons on the panel. Why do people do this?
“I think we’re stuck,” I muttered.
“You bet we are. damnit! I’ve got a meeting in five minutes!” He said this as if I wasn’t there. As if he was talking to the elevator.
“But you know what I am going to do?” he asked, and finally looked at me. And then before I could ask, he continued, “I’m going to get this fixed right now.” As he spoke he pushed buttons on his phone and put it up to his fat head.
“Yeah, the elevator just stopped and I am going to need someone to get me out of here as soon as humanly possible. … I understand what you’re saying, but you need to understand me. This is unacceptable and it WILL be fixed.”
And he hung up and just looked at me.
His buzz cut made even his ears look fat.
He towered over me like he was expecting me to do something.
“Well, I guess we wait,” I said as I slid down and sat on the dirty floor and grabbed my book out of my purse. Who knew how long this would take and I might as well ignore The Mouth as much as possible.
But then it opened up again.
“We won’t be here that long. That floor is disgusting.”
I just made a “mm” sound and tried to focus on my book. But I couldn’t. He was still staring at me.
Was he actually ordering me?
“Because the floor is disgusting. Do you want to take that filth home on your clothes to your young son? Stand up. I called the maintenance guy. We won’t be here long anyway.”
He talked to everyone this way. We were all children and he was the only person who knew anything.
He knew what was “best” for us.
I was really fucking sick of it.
“No. I’m not going to stand up. Just because YOU called someone, doesn’t mean they can make this thing work any faster. I will stand up when I am getting up to LEAVE.”
My face burned as I turned my eyes back to my book. I was not reading, but I had to save face.
He wasn’t saying anything. But he WAS still staring.
Finally, “What kind of tone is that? What did I say that required you to use that sort of tone? I was simply…”
“You were simply ordering me around just like you order everyone around. You were trying to once again prove that you know all and I know nothing. In fact, had I stood up, you would have told everyone how you saved my son from the filth on the floor. Everyone is dumb and you are brilliant. Fuck that.”
This time I held his gaze.
His face was dumbstruck. His mouth hung open and his eyes blinked a few times.
And the elevator jolted.
And the 4 lit up.
And the doors slid open.
He paused. Stared at me a second longer; then turned and left.
I closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the side of the elevator as the doors noiselessly slid shut.