BY DAVID MOORES
Copyright is held by the author.
IN JIM’S confused, half-awake state, he thought the tapping sound was the renovators in the unit above. They’d been in that place for weeks and it was getting on his nerves.
Wait a minute! The green numbers on the bedside clock showed 3 a.m. Jim rolled over and whispered to his sleeping wife (didn’t want to startle her): “Somebody at the door, should I answer it?”
Janet always awoke alert. “Well, check the peephole, dummy, that’s what it’s for. So you don’t go letting in some axe murderer.” Janet had a vivid imagination.
The peephole revealed Ed from across the hall, fully dressed, agitated. But then, Ed was always getting worked up over something, people barbecuing on their terrace, playing opera at 7 a.m., but to come tapping on their door in the middle of the night? A bit much.
But then, Jim and Ed had never gotten along. One time, Ed had accused Jim of enticing his cat, the last thing Jim would do to that ill-natured, resentful beast. The two neighbours had barely acknowledged each other for years, and shared elevator rides were always taken in stony silence. Then, only last week there’d been a nasty flare up over a second parking space. Jim wasn’t sure Ed had all his oars in the water, but he kept the thought to himself.
He opened the door a crack. “Ed, what’s the problem? Don’t tell me your cat’s escaped again?”
“Christ no, there’s a body in the damn elevator! I was heading down to get something out of my car …” Really, at 3 a.m.? Jim thought. “And up comes the elevator and there’s a dead guy in it!”
Jim’s natural skepticism kicked in.
“Uh, Ed, you sure he’s dead?”
“Well, he sure looked dead to me. His eyes were open and he wasn’t moving.”
Curiosity trumped caution. “All right, Ed, let’s go see, but we better call 911 pretty quick.”
“You stay here my love,” Jim called to his wife as he pulled on his robe, Ed’s having a small problem with the elevator. Okay, let’s see what’s going on.”
The two of them tramped along the hall. The doors of both elevators were closed.
“Well shit, Ed, what did you expect? Bring it back, quick!”
“Er, I don’t remember which one it was,” Ed mumbled.
“Well get them both!”
The usual muted thumps and clunks signalled the arrival of the left hand elevator. Its door slithered open. No one aboard, alive or dead. Jim mashed the button to summon the other elevator.
The right hand elevator arrived. Here we go, thought Jim. But of course it was predictably empty too, just like in a lame short story.
Jim turned to Ed. “Ed, there no body here.”
Ed’s face bore an over-bright, fixed grin. “Not for long though, Jim,” he said, brandishing a small, silenced handgun.
In addition to her vivid imagination, Janet was a suspicious woman. She’d ignored her husband’s instruction to stay in the unit, and followed stealthily along the hall. Just as well. The steam iron in her hand split Ed’s skull and down he went, straight into the right hand elevator.
Jim jumped in, pressed B for basement, and hurried out again. The pair of them stood back. The door slid closed.
Now there really was a body in the elevator.