The 15 Elevator Rides from Hell, Composing the Three Days of June Spent in Hearing the Narrations of Doctor Sikorsky; Interspersed Amongst Which Are the Scandalous Doings at the Sheraton Hotel During That Month; All Being Set Down in the Form of a Journal
Fortunato Salazar

1. The Man in Black hears his feathers referred to as “scruffy,” and those same feathers are ruffled with abominable lack of tenderness.

2. The Man in Black jabs through the bars of his cage, but he has been fitted with a muzzle by a male nurse wearing eyeliner.

3. For the 31st time in three days, he is forced to listen to the explanation of his name.

4. A baritone fragment of song emerges from the mouth of a woman who resembles
a bulldog, a mouth that could only possibly produce a snarl: I went down, down,
down . . .

5. He is caressed by two young Japanese women while they discuss a barbaric practice of sexual mutilation with which he is intimately familiar.

6. In the morning he encounters a straggly Ichabod Crane wearing a conference nametag. In the afternoon, he encounters Ichabod Crane again, who gives him a wry smile and mumbles something that sounds very much like “. . . the eternal recurrence of the same.”

7. A large flabby woman stoops down to examine, with visible distaste, the bare spot at the base of his neck. She wears a t-shirt embroidered with the phrase “I’m the Boss.”

8. He is forced to listen to a graphic discussion of a future that did not materialize, a discussion that includes the term “Under a Brick” which invariably gives him violent nightmares.

9. He effects a jab through the bars of his cage and strikes home, but because of the muzzle the jab elicits nothing more than mock fright and giggles.

10. His persistent hacking cough, which should have gone away by now, causes two members of the housekeeping staff to give him dirty looks and retreat to the opposite corner of the elevator.

11. For the 19th time in three days, he is obliged to hear the narrative of someone’s complicated personal experience with an upper respiratory infection, and the treatment for that infection.

12. For the 21st time in three days, he is obliged to listen to a joke about “being pumped full of antibiotics.”

13. He is forced to ride from the 4th to the 8th floor in the company of a white-coated server carrying a tray with an aroma distinctly evocative of the future that did not materialize.

14. Yet again, he must endure astonishment at the fact that exactly the same quantity of filthy lucre that would have caused the future that did not materialize to materialize, prevented that future from materializing.

15. He finds himself by chance in a position in which crowding has placed within his reach a target that even a muzzled jab would strike effectively. Quick though he is with the only weapon at his disposal, the crowd shifts just before he strikes and his jab merely grazes its intended target.

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