Something a bit different to work out the ol’ thinkin’ muscle. Drop a comment or like if you’d like to see more pieces like this.
“I will prepare my utensils, and then we shall begin.”
These were the last words I myself heard before my life ended. I jumped ahead too far, let’s take a step back.
I awoke that morning, the same as I had day in/day out for the last ten years—had a simple breakfast of runny eggs, lightly buttered toast, and weak coffee. From there I showered, primed myself for the day, and walked the three miles to work. I work in a simple office that sells custom-made apparel and nicknacks, tailored to customer’s specifications. From the website you can place a photo, logo, whatever you desire on the product, choose a color, then purchase however many items in as many iterations as you wish.
The orders come through my desk, I myself am responsible for ensuring the customer’s order has gone through processing properly, and I address any last-minute modifications to our department’s designer before the order is finalized and sent to the printers. This was once an automated process, though we found that there were a number of issues that would arise from emailing or sending the files through our systems, so I myself took the responsibility of hand-delivering the orders on flash drives to the printers in the basement.
We are a smaller operation, to be sure, and though the office building my company leases has many floors, ours is confined to the fourteenth and basement floors. In order to get to the basement for the printers, I myself must take the elevator down to the ground level, make a brief stop at ground, then press an additional button to move to the basement floor. This is to prevent any office worker not of my company from mistakenly entering our printing operation, and perhaps disrupting any of the printing staff.
As I entered the elevator, I myself stand as close as I can to the panel of illuminated buttons, as to not prevent any patrons from accessing it, I jingle the keyring holding the flash drive, as I had done any other delivery to the basement. The idle tick is somehow calming as the LED numbers descend from 14 to G.
Floor Nine hangs a moment longer than it would in normal operation before a soft ding signals the lift has been called. Weight shifts in the lift as it adjusts to the stop before the doors slide open and I’m greeted by a young professional woman who works for the stationary office a few floors down. We make small talk, she smiles politely and leans awkwardly to finger the button for the fifth floor.
I know through my tenure that the fifth floor has housed many small operations like our own, though in recent months has remained vacant. I could address the woman, asking if her selection was in err, or I myself could choose to ignore the action as a matter none of my concern. This, as always, is my selection.
The weight of the lift shifts once more as the fifth floor is reached. The woman politely smiles, wishes me a pleasant day, and exits the lift. As I suspected, the fifth floor is vacant. The woman does not appear undeterred. None of my concern. The doors close and my descension resumes. Four…Three…Two…One…Ground. Pause for effect, then I select Basement. The lift lurches as it makes it’s final descent, slowing after a brief pause and the doors open to our printers.
I am greeted by the acrid smell of ink, as always, and see at the far end of the room the latest items come off the assembly line get inspected before being carefully packed and readied for shipping. I myself always call ahead before making my delivery, ensuring my presence has the least amount of disruption on operation, and am usually greeted by one of the printing staff awaiting the next order.
Taking a firm step into the room, a member of the printing staff waves me over to approve the previous order’s specifications. The order is still fresh in my memory, the approval takes only a few minutes. He then hands me a spare and thanks me for my service. I return to the lift and begin my ascension.
Once more the lift lurches to a halt at the fifth floor. The soft ding, followed by the doors open brings the familiar blank wall across the hall, with the unfamiliar sight of a lone woman’s shoe. This is none of my concern, though…
Before the doors close, I step out of the lift. From the right of the hall, I am faced with another blank wall. To the right, a barren corridor. Looking down to the shoe at my feet, I see nothing out of the ordinary—other than the unordinary placement of it.
“Hello.” I say to the corridor, receiving no reply. This is none of my concern, though…the owner of the shoe could very well miss its twin. Shoe in hand, I casually walk down the hallway. As I draw closer to the opposing wall, a faint light of fluorescent origin peeks around the corner. This is none of my concern. My coworkers are no doubt expecting my immediate return.
“Please, come in”. My earlier query of presence is met with these three, simple words. When rounding the corner, I am met by the gentle eyes of the woman from the lift encounter earlier. As if in reply, I hold up the lone shoe. She takes it from my grasp and gestures to the reclined seat beside her. I sit although every synapse screams their protest.
“I will prepare my utensils, and then we shall begin”, and it brings us to now. The chair is comfortable, I myself wonder if—