Walk into another Doorless Elevator Company and act as though you’re a newbie because you’re so cocky at this business with all your knowledge, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. This was the farthest thing from fun though. I was overwhelmed out of my wits and was just itching to take control of this company too. But to win the annual bonus competition that the office held, I had to manage to survive working a week in another Doorless Elevator Head Quarter. Or for short, the DEHQ.
Ever since the idea took off in 2102, nobody has seen the doorless elevator as an improvement to what elevators used to be, but they saved companies lots of money. With the rise of monopolies throughout the first one hundred years of the 2000’s, companies had become even greedier, and took more money away from their employees. Money is all anyone cares about. I know it sounds Dystopian, but that’s what reality has become.
I don’t remember what got me interested in working for the DEHQ, but when I came across old blueprints for original elevators, I was instantly drawn to the machine. I was never alive to see what an elevator with a door looked like, because they had all been discontinued before my birth. All I knew what to do was jump out at the desired floor while the elevator went up or down. It offered a thrill, but also scared the living shit out of everyone who needed to use the machine. People were actually drawn to using the stairs now, and our country lost more weight than had been lost in years.
Enough history though, all you need to know is that I am a doorless elevator expert, and everyone in my office is sick of me; so they sent me to the HQ across town to suffer in this office. Like I said, I just wanted to win the money, and I didn't realize how much I was going to have to downplay my knowledge here. I just wanted to conquer like my ancestors before me.
Walking up to the front desk, I smiled at the young receptionist. She glared at me. I told her that it was my first day, and she pointed to the grey cubicles lined up behind her. Nodding uneasily, I walked through them until I found my name taped to a back corner one. This was going to be my haven for the week. A space where my knowledge could run rampant, and I wouldn’t have to be a dumbed down idiot, like the rest of my coworkers.
“Hi!” A preppy voice popped into my square as I sat down on the rickety chair. “You’re new here!”
“Yes, yes I am aware of that,” I cringed as she held out her manicured hand.
“Are you excited? Do you know much about elevators or are you just an office guy?”
I glared at her in debate of what I should say. My first real conversation with a new co-worker, and yet I couldn’t handle the shame of saying I didn't know something I knew like the back of my hand. I took a steady breath in, and shook her hand.
“Nope, I don’t know anything about elevators. I’m just an office guy,” I grimaced.
“Oh cool! I know everything there is to know about the elevator and its history. I’m a bit of an expert if I’m being honest,” She flung her permed blonde hair over her shoulder like last century’s models. “There’s somebody over at the other HQ who thinks he knows everything but really, he’s got so much self inflation that his brain is probably just as empty as a tumbleweed blowing in the wind.”
“What makes you say that? Do you reckon you’re smarter than everyone?”
“Well yes, the majority of people that is. I remember reading this history book about how people thought that society was just going to get smarter as time passed, but really people have just gotten so much dumber. I wish I had been born in a different time period so people could fully appreciate my brain cells.”
This was one of those moments when if I hadn’t gone through anger management therapy, I’d have torn her irritating hair right out of her skull, and proved to her she wasn’t the smartest. One of us would be leaving on a stretcher, and I certainly wasn’t going to be that person.
“Well, you look stressed so I’ll leave you to it! My name’s Sherry, by the way, like the wine. Also there’s a meeting in the conference room in one hour. If you need anything just let me know, I’m always watching,” She said borderline psychotically before walking back to her cuticle that was at the front of the room. I waited for her to sit down before I did anything else. Something seemed off about this woman and this office.
Logging in with the fake credentials I had been given, I laughed at how much of a doofus the guy I was impersonating was. He barely even had a degree in official communications and this company hired him. For the next hour, I aimlessly wandered through articles on the internet to make it seem like I was working. Piece of cake winning this bonus was going to be since I didn't have to do anything but keep my disguise steady for a week.
When I joined the rest of the team in the conference room for our meeting, Sherry introduced me as the newest member of the company. I was sure that I’d been working for DEQH much longer than she had, but I nodded politely as they stared at me. The meeting ended up being miserable, but what could I expect? Sherry got every piece of doorless elevator history wrong, and it took everything in my system to not correct her.
Afterwards, I slumped back into my cubicle and wiped the sweat from my brow. Who knew it would be so difficult to hold back your opinions as an entire room full of people nodded in agreement of the wrong? Part of me had began wondering if Sherry was messing up on purpose. I mean, how could anyone with so little knowledge represent a company like this and not even present the right information?
At lunch, she sat right next to me, and told me about everything she was eating. It was even more miserable. She somehow had the courage to tell me that if I didn't eat salami then I wouldn’t be balding and overweight. I stared into her eyes trying to find the right words to say; but all I wanted to do was something so violent that I can’t bring myself to describe it. She stared back at me with her soulless beady eyes because she wasn’t going to back down. I psychically bit my tongue, and moved from the lunchroom to my cubicle.
“You know you can’t escape me Steve,” Sherry’s voice whispered from the cubicle next to me. I rolled my eyes but as I looked up, I met her gaze as she stared at me from over the top of the wall. “I’m the floor manager, and I basically own your ass.”
“Sherry, could you just leave me alone? I think I’m really onto something here and need to focus.”
“Lies,” She hissed arching her head up higher. “I know who you really are, and why you’re here.”
I swallowed my anxiety and told myself she was just trying to get a rise out of me. She couldn’t have known who I was because the two DEHQ buildings in our city weren’t connected. There was no access to the list of employees there. In this building, I truly was Steve, the fat and balding man. A brainless buffoon who eats salami for lunch and sweats too easily. THINK ABOUT THE MONEY were the words plastered on the inside of my brain. But did the money really matter when my soul was screaming back for me to prove the wine lady wrong?
“You know what, Sherry?” I growled rising to my feet and planting my hands firmly on the desk. “Tell me who you think I am.”
“You’re David Johnson from our arch nemesis DEHQ company. You lied your way through an interview with us to gain a chance at winning money from a contest at your company! You don’t belong here!”
“You left out one vital piece of information.”
“Oh, do indulge me.”
“I know more information than you on every aspect of the doorless elevator,” I spat each word in her face. Others from the office had begun to pay attention towards us. Some even stood in the space between cubicles to watch. Either way, everyone was interested in the fact that I was taking on the final boss. All thoughts of money went out of my mind. I needed to prove my knowledge.
“Well, since you’re so smart, why don’t you tell us all the facts then?”
“The DE was created as an effort for 21st century monopolists to save money on the door of an elevator by simply removing the part. By also eliminating stopping at individual floors, they saved money on the power and the electricity needed to power that. That’s the true information. You said it was created to be ‘spunky’ as the centuries progressed. Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is? The doorless elevator was also invented in 2102, not 2107. I don’t even know how you got that wrong. The fact that people are taking the stairs more often is a true correlation because of the danger of a doorless elevator. You said that people are taking the stairs less because they’re scared of the elevator more so now than ever. Another piece of information that you twisted to be wrong, and for what? Why are you changing all this information? At the rightful company, you’d be thrown out faster than you can flip your ridiculous hair over your shoulder!”
The room was silent enough to hear a pin drop, and someone had dropped their paper clip. As well as everyone’s jaws dropped. Sherry’s face was as red as sherry wine. I may have hit a nerve, but she needed to hear it. I didn't care about the consequences anymore.
“And those are just some of the things you mentioned in that horrible meeting,” I eased back after realizing how close our faces had been. I was surprised she was still silent. Until an eyebrow raised, and I knew I was done for.
“Patricia?” She said to a small woman without breaking eye contact with me. “Bring you-know-who in.”
“Yes ma’am,” Patricia said scurrying away. She was back in an instant with two burly men in tall black suits. Before I could stop to think about anything, they lunged for me and punctured a needle into my neck, and everything went black.
When I came too, I was sitting in my cubicle with a different shirt on. Thankfully I had changed out of the grease stained one that I had spilled salami on earlier that day. Other than that, it was a normal day and I just had the beginning of a headache.
“Good morning Steve,” Sherry said standing in the door frame of the small square. “Care to tell me all that you know about doorless elevators? It’s a routine check for all employees that we’re conducting today.”
I opened my mouth to answer her question but before I could, I felt my brain go blank, and the words I wanted to say were sitting on the tip of my tongue. Yet, I had no idea what those words were. Oh wait, yes I did.
“Why good morning, Sherry! The standard doorless elevator was created in 2107 as an attempt to make the insides of buildings more spunky. They also cause for people to take the stairs less. That’s all I know really, I’m just an office guy.”