UKArchive ID: 36420harry
Originally published on April 8, 2016 in Fiction
A very short story about getting there.
The Top Floor
In the basement the elevator stood waiting. The doors were open and Ronnie figured if he got on now there was no way but up, and that’s what he wanted most of all. The beautiful people were up there. The big salaried men in their thousand dollar suits. He could fit in up there.
He pulled his cuffs a half inch out – just far enough so his Rolex would show, if he had a Rolex.
But he had a Timex, and besides the cuffs of his shirt were frayed, so he pulled them back in under the sleeves of his jacket again. He noticed a dark stain on his left sleeve, it was from carrying the want-ads section of the newspaper under his arm as he walked the streets of New York. He dropped the newspaper on the floor, he was through job-hunting. Sick of it. He’d been turned down for everything. Plumber’s helper. Handyman. It was time for him to make a run for the top.
That elevator would take him there. He was sure of it. It was brightly lit, maybe a little too bright, he was afraid it would make the dirty collar of his shirt and his run down heels plain to see. But, “What the hell!” If he put up a bold front and talked fast he’d get away with it, attitude, that was the main thing – attitude and the gift of gab!
A door opened beside him and a well dressed man in a blue serge suit walked in. He paused and looked down at Ronnie, then he walked quickly into the elevator. He pushed the button for his floor and the doors closed with a whoosh. The elevator rocketed upward and disappeared.
No question about it. If that guy could do it, Ronnie could do it! He stood there waiting impatiently for the elevator to return. When it did, the doors opened with a gentle hiss and he peeked inside. It was spotlessly clean, perfumed and the sound of well tuned strings played familiar music. He stepped inside but held the doors open, trying the read the call buttons.
He expected to find numbers, floor numbers. Bit there were no numbers, Only words – words like Control! Power! Wealth! Authority! He wanted all these things, even when he was a kid he wanted them. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Could it be this simple? Just push a button? But which one? Ronnie considered the possibilities, how could he have Wealth without Authority? And maybe along with Authority came Responsibility. Wouldn’t he have to be responsible for making decisions? He wondered which button the man in the blue serge suit pushed, the man didn’t hesitate, he just walked in, the doors slid shut and up he went.
Ronnie swallowed hard and let the doors slide shut. He thought he’d push the top button, that’s where the heavy action must be. That’s where the beautiful people must be. There was a question mark on that button, but it must be the top floor. The top button was always the top floor, wasn’t it? Of course it was, every elevator he’d ever been in was like that. The boss always pushed the top button.
He pushed the top button.
The elevator descended.
Archived comments for The Top Floor
Mikeverdi on 08-04-2016
The Top Floor
Another gem from your pen Harry.