Friday, May 21, 2010


by Katie Waldron

The elevator doors opened.

"A little elaborate," Luke thought as they closed quickly behind him. Why couldn't the interview be in the lobby? Or on the tenth floor, even... It had to be on the goddamned 35th floor of the building.

He flew solo until the fifth floor. Then, a balding businessman entered the elevator, followed by three pencil-skirted women. One of the skirts glanced at the balding man and Luke's especially plump partner, the man who was accompanying him to his interview: Mike. The woman then glanced nervously at the "maximum capacity" sign.

700 lbs.

By the 17th floor, an entire new cast of similar-looking characters had replaced the fifth-floor folk. Luke couldn't help but wonder if a couple of, ahem, robust people would meet the capacity of 700 lbs. They had to be at least 200 each.

Mike, the guy who had suggested him for the job, elbowed Luke in a "there's something witty coming" sort of way.

"You'd think they'd make the capacity bigger in the KFC headquarters, right?"

Luke forced a "ha" out. If he had to be subjected to Mike's humor for another two floors, he hoped that the elevator would drop.

It did. Pummeling fast to the ground, shaking violently with a faint burning smell in the back.

The passengers yelled various colorful unmentionables as the burning smell became more of a reek and Luke suggested everyone jump with the aid of the handrails. When he was 12 and he found out elevators weren't floating boxes, his grandmother told him, "If they drop, you can jump, that's what the bars are for."

As they careened toward the bottom, faster and faster and faster -- the screams got louder and louder and louder --

-- everyone began jumping.

His grandma lied.

Luke laid there on the bottom of the shaft, his skull reeking out of the top of his head. The elaborate doors fell and crushed the butchered remnants of the bodies. Some passerby lost his lunch when he peeked in past the "do not cross" yellow tape.

The nervous pencil-skirt walked back from a successful interview and looked down at her competition with a brief, grimy superiority. She thought: "Take the stairs if you want the job," like her grandma said.

Then she lost her lunch too.