“The Descent”

“You know, pressing the button again and again like that won’t make it get here any faster.”

“What difference does it make to you?” The man didn’t even look back at George. He just kept his eyes glued to the numbered display above the elevator doors, mashing the button like he was playing an arcade game. The car was still ten floors above them, stationary. It was not descending, as George had pointed out, any faster, despite the man’s impatience.

“It makes the difference between me losing my temper. And not losing my temper.”

“Is that right?” said the man, turning around at last. “Well, let’s see.” He put his hand behind his back, reaching for the button, and looked George in the eye. He resumed pressing the button, faster and faster, fast enough that a sheen of sweat formed on his lip.

George took a deep breath.

The man smiled, registering the rise and fall of his shoulders. “Maybe you should try counting to ten.”

“That’s pointless. I lose it way before I get to five,” said George. He took a step forward and grabbed a handful of the man’s long, greasy hair, looping it around his fist until he had himself a good, strong handle. It would have been very painful for the man, George wrenching at his scalp like that. But before he could find the words to replace his screams, George had already started smashing his head into the same button he had been pressing.

By the time the man had lost consciousness, sight in at least one of his eyes, most of his teeth and many years off what was left of his sad, brain-damaged little life, the elevator arrived.

“What do you know?” muttered George, as he let go of the man’s hair and let his bloody head follow his crumpled body to the floor. “Maybe you were on to something after all.”

Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash

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