Elevator Roulette by Amy Temple Harper


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Elevator Roulette by Amy Temple Harper


"Most people just ride up and down," she said.
     It was starting to get very crowded in the elevator and the girl talking to me was wearing a thin short puffed up skirt. It looked like a parachute. She couldn't have been more than 13 years old.
     "It has always been my dream to ride in an elevator that only goes up," I answered.
     "That doesn't make any sense," she said. Other people around us were staring straight at us. Which was unusual for an elevator situation.
     "Oh, I think you can ride up to about 229 floors and then the air gets thin," I said. "This building has 230 floors." She was noticing the bruises all over my arms.
     "Why wouldn't you want to come down?" the girl asked. We stopped at floor 189 and two people left the elevator. One of them was a man and he was crying hysterically. The other one was a woman and she was laughing.
     "Why would anyone want to come down?" I answered.
     "They number the floors 0-229," she continued seriously. "They write all the numbers of the different floors on pieces of paper and put them into a hat."
     "What for?" I asked. I was starting to sweat and wondered why she was still talking to me.
     "Because torture is exquisite," she responded.
     "Huh? I didn't catch that part."
     "Each person riding in the elevator gets to draw a number out of the hat. Whichever number you draw is the numbered floor where you jump out the window of your own free will."
     "And if you don't want to jump?" I asked.
     "Then they throw you out the window," she answered.
     "Who's they?" I asked, starting to feel the stares from the other people directly on me.
     "The people here now."
     "If you draw floor 0 then you are home free?" I asked.
     "I suppose," she said doubtfully.
     "And if you draw a 1 you might only have a broken leg?"
     "Maybe," she said.
     I didn't think those were very good odds. But it didn't matter because we had passed those floors so long ago.
     "So you get a choice? Jump or be thrown?" I asked.
     "Of course. Otherwise it wouldn't seem fair," she said.
     We had reached floor 225. "Well, I guess this is our floor," she said, and held out her hand.
     We left the elevator and were holding hands. We looked over the side of the building. There were bodies littered everywhere. Crushed and smashed like small bugs.
     "Well, do you want to jump or do you want me to push you?" she asked. It never occurred to either of us that I might be the one to push her.
     "Let's jump together," I suggested.
     "How can I trust you?" she asked.
     I took off my belt and looped it around my arm. I enclosed her arm into the belt too. We were strangely attached by a piece of leather. I think it was love.
     I looked over the side again. I stared down and saw a man who had fallen onto a ledge and was injured. The side of his head was bleeding profusely. He was writhing in pain.
     1-2-3. I felt the tug of the belt and the weight of her body pulsating against mine as we started to fall.
     I heard screams around us, but they weren't coming from inside our bodies.
     Her hair was flying up and she looked beautiful. I was strangely elated. Free falling is not what I expected. It is freeing and not really falling. It is more like floating on air while the building sinks into the ground. I was so relieved that I wouldn't have to ride on any more elevators ever again.

Amy Temple Harper is a small white boy trapped in an Asian girl's body. She lives in Portland, Oregon and often doesn't know if the sun is shining. She has several phones and one son.