There was something about elevators that bothered her. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. It wasn’t fear that it would get stuck and she might starve to death. It wasn’t fear that it would fall and she would die a horrible death. So what was it about elevators that concerned her?
It was just a machine driven pulleys and ropes. True, it was a containment device but then so was a car or a room for that matter. This one just moved in a vertical manner.
She glanced over the surface of the one that she was in. The one that had set dread in the center of her chest. It had finger smudged metal paneling and a filthy drop ceiling. There was smut ground into the corners and the square of carpet underneath felt moist. The smell of strong perfume and old cigarettes was only slightly off putting.
So what was it about elevators?
She was just trying to get to floor 23 but the elevator doors opened on floor 9. A single man in a slightly disheveled suit stepped in and pushed the button for floor 26. He leaned against the back wall and she could feel his eyes all over her. She could just make out the smirk painted across his lips as he folded his arms.
This other passenger, this man, began talking at her, “Twenty third floor, huh? Looking to get hired, is that it?” He sidled right up behind her, “You’re pretty enough. I could probably help you with that.”
She could feel his breath on the back of her neck. Her mouth slowly curled into a frown but understanding lit up in her mind. That’s right, it’s not elevators. It’s being trapped in a small room with assholes that bothered her.
And assholes were everywhere.
Being a fish is hard. Being a fish that lives in a tank is even more difficult. You look out at the weird wide world and it doesn’t make any sense to your fish brain.
Sure, there can be a riot of colors and you can’t quite figure out what you’re looking at but is that really any different than living in the coastal reefs?
The hardest part is coming to the realization that you’re trapped. It seems like you should be able to go on forever but then you run into that clear barrier. And that barrier is almost in all directions except up.
Once you make that distinction, it all kind of goes downhill from there. Food magically arrives at a pretty consistent time every day. Consistent enough that it gets dull.
So you try exploring. The little plants are fun to play in but even they lose their mystique over time. And there are only so many times you can swim through the castle.
That leaves you with attempting to have a conversation with Bubbles the Diver. But that guy is like a broken record. And what the heck does he eat that makes him so gassy?
I have finally gotten around to writing my first novel called The Matilda. Writing a novel has been one of those things that I have wanted to do since I was a wee kid.
Now, to be honest, I have written plenty of stories throughout my life. I even wrote a probably the longest thing I had ever written prior to this book back when I was 12. I worked hard at it and was incredibly proud of it. My grandfather was one of the first to read it and he laughed and laughed. I don’t think I had ever seen him laugh so hard before in my life.
Now he wasn’t laughing because of spelling mistakes, grammar or any of the other things that I would have expected. No, he laughed because of how it was written. He got an entirely different meaning from the words than what I had intended. I was a bit heart broken in response.
It was quite the learning lesson. I bucked up and went back to reread it with what he had told me on the top of my mind. And where I had thought I had written the greatest adventure story, I found to my dismay that I had written quite the brutal and strange comedy.
But, you know what? I actually enjoyed my story that much more. With a simple change in how to interpret the wording, I had two stories for the price of writing one. I reread it many years later and it was a weak tale, adventure or comedy wise, but the lesson stayed with me. Sadly, this story was lost to time.
Understanding these nuances helped immensely in my writing of scripts for short films and short fiction. And it continued to help me in writing my very first full length novel, The Matilda.
I’ll talk more about that journey in later posts.
Had the shutters been closed, he might never have seen what it. He cowered back into the corner and tripped over the lamp. Why had he looked, he admonished himself. What had made him do it? He could have kept watching television and remained blissfully ignorant but curiosity had gotten the better of him.
“Curse my foolishness!” he cried.
But there was no one there to listen. He had successfully extricated himself from society and had come to enjoy the silence. There was no differing of opinion, no one pushing him to be a better person. Best of all, he wasn’t responsible for anything outside of himself.
It had gotten to a point that he no longer knew day from night or even which day it was. Never mind the week or the month. He wasn’t entirely sure he knew what year it was. But he had gone to the window and looked out. And what had been seen could not be unseen.
“God I hate parades.”
(image courtesy of Photogen.com)
The apocalypse had finally come. The surface of the planet was now ruled by the rotting zombie horde and there seemed to be no hope of rescue for those still struggling to live above.
But under the water, the story was completely different. Submarines continued to circle the earth in their hermetically sealed containers.
The crews of these boats remained unaffected by the virus.
But not so for the creatures beneath the waves…
“Sir! Whale sighted off starboard bow!” the radar technician shouted.
The Captain looked up, “Is there sign of sluffing?”
“Decomposition is in process, Captain.”
“One thousand meters.”
The Captain turned to his crew, “Helm to starboard! Weapons Officer! When in range, launch tubes one and two. Straddle that beast!”
‘Sir, yes sir’ echoed loudly in the COC. The dull thump of the tubes firing came shortly after.
“We have a hit, sir. Two hits!” exclaimed the radar technician in excitement.
“Good work men. Good work.” the Captain responded.
Yes, the surface was lost but not the world beneath the waves. It may take a very long time, but by God they would win!
“Too tight.” she whispered. “I can’t breathe. I can’t see! Too tight!” Her labored breathing echoed in the tiny room.
She looked wildly about. Nothing was clear under the dingy bulb that swung loosely on its chain overhead. Her movements caused the shirts and jackets overhead to catch in her hair. Spasms of pain shot down her back.
She scrabbled and tore at the skin of her face and it split like ribbons under her sharp finger nails. Her blood soaked the collar of her filthy blouse as her breathing became ragged.
“Finally free.” The words dribbled from the corner of her mouth as her final breath rattled from her chest.
The locks clicked open on the tiny closet and the man in the mask looked down at her sodden body. He cursed her, “Damn it. Now I need a new one.”
You are the one who opens the car door. You are the one who waits patiently… your face reflected in the mirror.
You exist in the nightmares of every cyclist as they see that reflection right before they slam into that car door.
Your sardonic grin is the last thing they see before the pavement blocks their view. Your exhaust is all they smell as they lay there in the street.