The elevator started up with a lurch and began its slow, grinding descent. Bill and Hunter were of the belief that the Lond Ho elevators were the slowest in the city, perhaps the country, and maybe even the pokiest lifts on the entire planet, and by extension, the galaxy. They were wrong of course, there were far slower elevators everywhere in the city, in hospitals, and old folks homes for instance. All things being equal in an infinite universe, there was even the possibility of entire planets covered with even slower lifts than the ones at Lond Ho. This however did not cross Bill or Hunter’s mind at the time, as they were concentrating quite intensely on the “here, and now” of their situation; they needed to get to ground floor, get out of the building, get some booze, and get pished.
The elevator car was lined with grimy mirrors and cheesy fake wood panelling that betrayed its age. Hunter didn’t think the lifts had been updated, or even serviced, since the building was put up. Of course they had been serviced, the Otis people were at the building just last week, and if Hunter had bothered to access his medium term memory he would have recalled being annoyed that only the service lift was available for a period of two days the week before, forcing him to wait nearly a whole minute for the elevator to arrive one morning. And as Hunter quite often said, “I haven’t got all-minute!”
Hunter turned to Bill, “The so-called CEO of the Cosmodemonic Security Company showed up at the site today.”
“CEO eh? Fancy!”
“’Fancy’ yeah, right. Being the CEO of Dumfeld Security is like being the World’s Tallest Midget.” Hunter grumbled.
Bill nodded, “That’s certainly an interesting way of putting it. By they way, the preferred term these days is ‘little person.’”
Hunter sneered. He loathed political correctness and the mealy-mouthed left-wing socialist media that invented it, and continued to cram it down the throats of the citizenry of North America. The lift jerked to a quick halt at the 11th floor and a man, a couple of years older than Bill and Hunter stepped in. He redundantly pressed the “L” for lobby, even though it was clearly lit up. This annoyed Bill, who shook his head in disgust thinking, “Did this guy need to do that? Did he not see the button was already lit, or is he in such an oblivious, zombified state that he just did it from habit?”
Bill continued, “So what did the so-called CEO want?”
Hunter absent-mindedly fingered the three “gold” studs in his left ear as the elevator continued downward, “He told me to take out my earrings and cut my hair.”
“Cut your hair?”
“Cut my hair.”
Bill crossed his arms over his barrel of a chest, knowing what the answer would be before even asking, “What did you say to that?”
“I told him they didn’t pay me anywhere near enough to make such demands on my personal appearance.”
Bill grinned at Hunter’s answer just as the lift stuttered to a halt on the 7th floor where a girl, about the same age as Bill and Hunter got on. She looked at the panel, saw the illuminated “L” then pressed the CLOSE button. A few seconds went by and the doors finally slid shut. Hunter had a theory that the CLOSE button wasn’t attached to anything. He came to this conclusion a week after they had moved in to Lond Ho when he noticed the button never lit up when it was pressed, and the doors had always seemed to close when they wanted to, and not because of any arbitrary button pressing that may or may not go on.
“So what did your boss say to that?” Bill wanted to know.
“He gave me a raise.”
“You are fucking kidding me!”
The guy that entered on the 11th floor looked back at Bill, or rather up and back at Bill who was a good six inches taller, a good fifty pounds heavier. The guy gave Bill the stink eye, apparently offended by his foul language and muttered almost under his breath, “Come on man, a lady is present.”
Bill looked right back at him, “What?”
The guy said nothing and just turned back around shaking his head.
Bill continued, “Oh, you were finished? Well allow me to retort! Private Con-Ver-Sa-Tion!”
The guy was silent. Suddenly he wasn’t in the mood to mouth off anymore.
Bill turned back to Hunter, “You were saying?”
“Yeah, no apparently it was ‘in the works’ he said for a while and he was just there to let me know in person to expect to see it on the next cheque.”
The lift lurched to another halt this time on the 2nd floor, or +15 level as it was called. A Mexican looking guy got on and pressed the already lit up “L” button. Now Bill was completely beyond his regular level of annoyance and hitting all-new previously unprecedented levels of anger. To him it was one thing to take the lift from the upper floors, but quite another thing entirely to get on ONE FLOOR ABOVE THE FUCKING LOBBY! Didn’t this guy understand that he took more time WAITING for the lift car to arrive than it would have taken him to walk DOWN a single flight of stairs? He slapped himself about the forehead and audibly sighed.
“Anyway, so are you gonna cut your hair now, or what?”
Hunter shook his head, “Ah, fuck no. But I figger I’ll meet him half way and take out the studs while I’m at work. If I remember of course.”
The lift stopped, and the doors parted at last they had arrived at the lobby. Everyone waited the extra two or three seconds before exiting, as the elevator cars at Lond Ho never seemed to stop level with the floor on the first attempt and always needed those extra seconds to level out. The three people in front of Bill and Hunter stepped out on to the faux marble floor and quickly headed for the glass air-lock that was London House’s front entrance/exit. The street was close now, and by extension the boys’ quest for potent potables was nearly within reach.
Bill looked at Hunter half grinning, “Take out your earrings eh? You are such a fucking sell-out.”
Hunter nodded, “Yeah, well everybody sells out eventually, the successful rich ones anyway… but who cares about that right now? I’m starving, lets get some beers!”
“Smartest thing you’ve said all night,” Bill said as they stepped towards the glass air-lock.
What could be lurking just outside the entrance, and what could it mean for Bill and Hunter’s Lager Quest? Tune in next time for Part 4!!