Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Elevator

Why is the elevator one of the most un-social of the places even when so many people ride in an elevator together at any given point of time? Why does it so happen that people are talking amongst themselves but as they enter the elevator, they stop talking and stare out of the contraption if its glass or just look towards the ceiling never once speaking until they reach their destination?
With these random thoughts going through the head of Wayne, he got into the lift to take him to his floor in the huge building. As the lift doors were just about to close, a hand stopped the doors and one more guy hopped in. And the doors closed…the lift started moving. It was raining outside and the raindrops were making patterns on the plate glass walls of the lift. Both guys casually looked at each other and both looked at each others IDs which were just hanging from the belt clip re-tractors. (That’s a fashion statement these days I guess)
Just then the lift came to a halt! It was a mechanical failure perhaps as the lights went off and the only light came into the lift through the glass walls. The orange-ish hues of the street light were painted across both men in the lift. Still the same escalator silence. Neither spoke a word. Finally after a tense minute the emergency phone buzzed. Wayne picked up the phone and on the other side was the lift technician, “sir, there is a mechanical failure and we are working on it. But it will take some time to fix.” To this Wayne replied, “Umm…Ok…but at least have the lights on and try getting the fan to work too.”
So now with not much choice left, Wayne was looking out of the glass walls while the other guy was fiddling with his mobile phone, typing away messages (most probably assuring loved ones that he’d be a little late but would come home). I think God was in a mischievous mood as the cell signals dropped and other guy exclaimed, “just perfect, shit!”
This was the first time any of them had spoken in the lift. Sound is also like gravity, once it gets a push….from then on its just rolling motion. He looked at Wayne and asked, “So you new to the organization”? To which Wayne replied, “Yes, just came here. What about you?” The other guy replied, “I’m Dr. Simon, a little old here”.
Looking at the ID Dr. Simon asked Wayne if they knew each other.”Your name sounds familiar, as if I have heard about you or something”, Dr. Simon commented. Wayne shot back,”Dr. Simon I too think I know about you”.
“So where you from”, questioned Dr. Simon to which Wayne retorted, “actually from nowhere, been traveling a lot so no one place can be associated with me”. “So what department you working for here”, Dr. Simon’s questions were beginning to irritate Wayne and it was evident from his face that he wasn’t enjoying the attention. Now it was time for Dr. Simon to feel some heat. “I work in Sales department, how’s your Project Ark going”, Wayne said.
Dr. Simon was taken aback for a second and then he asked, “How’d you know I am working on this project? There are only 5 people who are working on this and”…before he could complete Wayne remarked, “And I know one more person who works with you. Dr. Simon, the world’s a small place and our actions are directed by the grand designer, the almighty himself”
Getting uneasy Dr. Simon mumbled under his breath, “So now I’m stuck in this lift with a psycho stalker who knows about me and my work, great!”
“You shouldn’t get too agitated Dr. Simon, is that a bead of sweat on your forehead”, Wayne said as he was chuckling inside. Just then Dr. Simon finally realized who Wayne was…and it was uncomfortable out rightly. “I have heard stories about you Wayne, but last I heard you went off the grid and stopped contact with people. What made you come back?” Dr. Simon poked.
“Oh so I am a popular guy I guess”, Wayne said to which Dr. Simon curtly replied, “Popular or not, but certainly in the news for all the wrong reasons”. “Dr. Simon…you shouldn’t be saying that…the same set of people don’t have a very high opinion of you either. So you tell me, why did you do it? I won’t bite”, Wayne said in one breath.
“I don’t need to define my actions to you and everyone knows it was your fault and not mine”, Dr. Simon shot back. To this Wayne calmly replied, “Fault or no fault, that can be subjective from a higher ground, but I lost something which you are in possession of. So either I can take it back or I can let you have it, and walk out of this lift as the door opens. But then, that won’t be fun right”?
“What do you mean by that…are you threatening me”, Dr. Simon sneered at Wayne. “Wrong words Dr. Simon, I’m not here just to threaten you…just to let you know that what you did will not be forgotten and tomorrow you’ll be more famous than you could ever imagine.” With these words, Wayne took out a piano wire and in one swift motion made a loop around Dr. Simon’s neck and before Dr. Simon knew what was happening he was flat on his stomach and Wayne had firmly planted his knee on his back to stifle his movement. Feeling totally helpless in the dimly lit, small glass box suspended on cables…Dr. Simon was desperately trying to shout for help but the wire was slowly cutting into his flesh and he could feel his neck getting wet with his own blood. He didn’t have much time...he was a doctor by training and knew what was coming for him. Soon, his eyes would bulge out of his eye sockets, lack of oxygen to his brain would first make the world around go dizzy, he’d feel claustrophobic, vision would be impaired and due to lack of oxygen, the neural transmitters would slow down further reducing his muscular movement which could be his last chance to fight off this skilled adversary. And he was right…the same happened…a very slow, painful death by strangulation for Dr. Simon, head of the Life Sciences department’s top secret project “Project Ark”.
When all that left of Dr. Simon was a lifeless body, Wayne carefully checked his pulse to make sure he’d done his job. He then flicked on a switch and the lift started moving again. He could now see what he done in full light…Dr. Simon’s eyes had bulged out so much that one of the eyes was almost dangling out, his face was contorted and there was a streak of blood on his light blue shirt collar. But then he deserved it, thought Wayne.
As the lift came to a halt, Wayne calmly walked out the door and sent the lift back to the ground floor where Dr. Simon’s body would be found next morning. Wayne could see the newspaper headlines for tomorrow – “Renowned scientist killed brutally in his own office building”, “Severe blow for Arkin Industries” and “Was Dr. Simon close to finding something big?”
Wayne went down the stairs to the security station where a guard lay slumped on the monitor, with similar streak of blood on his collar. Wayne really liked the piano wire, it was clean and it was brutal. He removed the answering machine he had installed along with the voice of the lift technician (he was good at making up voices), removed the security footage of the lift and got into another set of clothes, walking away whistling into the night with Frank Sinatra’s ‘This Town…is a lonely town’ playing on his iPod.
When he finally crossed the main gate of the building, as a symbol of completion of his task…he took out his fake ID (which was actually stolen from another employee) and kept it on the road and drove away…

Who was Wayne? Why did he kill Dr. Simon? How’d he know what Dr. Simon was working on? What was Project Ark? What had Wayne lost for which Dr. Simon had to pay with his life? And a thousand such questions…..