Elevator Theater – Micro Story

It was January fifth and I walked out to the notoriously slow elevator bank to find Attorney M waiting there. The moment I stepped close to the elevator the red down arrow light pinged. Attorney M looked up and smiled.

“Finally!”

“Long wait? I guess I’m fortunate, I’ve good luck with elevators all year.”

Hey raised an eyebrow at me in response. I’m not usually much for small talk but I figure I should start getting to know some of the people I work for.

“Well I’m only five days in, but I love how easy the math is this early in there year. For example, I had my first cup of tea of today and it was the best tea I had all year.”

The beginnings of a playful smile joined Attorney M’s raised eyebrow.

“But did you realize that it was also the worst tea you had all year.”

My eyes opened wide as the compelling truth washed over me.

“I hadn’t thought of that. At that moment, that cup of tea was both the best and worst tea I’ve had all year. It would then require a second cup for one to be the best and one to be the worst and the slightest difference would decide.”

“Then you might experience anxiety over your third cup of tea; it could throw your absolutely binary experience out of whack.”

Then the elevator stopped with a ping a few floors down. Our expressions changed from animated to indifferent as we both faced forward to greet the elevator’s new guests. But no one stepped in. Instead we were witness to the following scene: Perfectly framed on the other side of the elevator doors were three people; two women on the left facing a man on the right. The taller straight black haired woman with a look of sad compassion spoke:

“I just heard.”

The shorter brown haired woman tilted her head and looked up at the man. He appeared as if all the air had gone out of his chest. He was a head taller than the black haired woman, had curly hair, and his face had a strange pale color as if the fluorescent lights were revealing light pink stage makeup. He lifted his arm in a half shrug and in a voice that quickly ran out of air said:

“I’ve only told four people, J. and you and . . .”

His arm dropped to his side.

“I’m so sorry.” The black haired woman’s head tilted to match the angle of the shorter woman’s.

And no one stepped in the elevator.

And none of the three people framed by the elevator entrance acknowledged the two silent witnesses.

Then the elevator door closed and proceeded down. Attorney M and I exchanged guilty glances of unwitting trespassers.