Comeuppance excerpt

by Alexander Inglis

With a satisfying half-clang half-clunk the collapsible lattice gate slid across and closed. She reached for the lever and pushed it across to the UP arrow. The ‘not quite heard’ hum of the electric motor five floors above began to vibrate through the soles of her feet – a sensation she hadn’t really noticed for … years?
One of her earliest memories about working at Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel was the old lift …
it was old … even in the mid-sixties … and we’ve both been here ever since. Not for much longer though.
She smiled remembering the polished linoleum and wood smell that travelled from floor to floor with the ancient mechanism …
not like that horrible, pissy, smelly box.
There was even an old man who operated the handle back then …
or is that a memory too far?
The lift slowed slightly then came to a dignified stop and, like so many …
thousands
… of times before she began to slide the inner gate open. Her hand was on the outer gate before she realised the landing outside was lit only by the light shining from the lift. The bright pool of yellow, crisscrossed by a thin tracery of shadows only highlighted the darkness stretching away from the sanctuary of the lift.
She hesitated for only a moment before pulling the gate open and stepping out. Turning to close the inner gate she glanced both ways along the corridor stretching away …
into the darkness
… at right angles to the lift. Old, old memories surfaced – memories of highly polished floors, of un-scuffed parquet, of people at Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel who cared about appearances, of a time before HR and compulsory retirement – and she smiled an embarrassed smile at her reflection standing at the back of the lift near the staff only sign.
Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel was not the real name of the company but for years, since she first heard the old Marks Brothers radio show, she couldn’t think of it in any other way. She even called Old Mister Bendix, Waldorf T. Flywheel after Groucho’s character… not to his face of course, no never to his face.
Right, lets go.