Penthouse or On Her Majesty’s Service

This was my first literary attempt in english language.  Error-prone and everything:

Otis was an old elevator. He had one of those rusty accordion doors that squeaked when someone opened or closed them. One had to be careful, though. Otis was old and grumpy, and sometimes he didn’t have manners. Once, he closed the doors on the 2nd floor’s fatty kid’s finger. The doors squeaked, the boy squealed and Otis screamed on top of it all:  Run piglet boy, ruuun!

But Otis wasn’t mean. He was just tired of going up and the down the ladder, carrying everybody.

In the beginning, people talked to him. But they started to slowly forget him and this was his way to try and get attention back. Loneliness is tougher than life. And life isn’t easy to begin with.

Sometimes Otis jammed and refused to work. It‘s my bad knee – he kept saying – I’m not the same boy I once was. Chasing tail up the stairs, pushing rivals down the pit.

But this was only a façade. A mask that Otis wore to ask for some kind, gentle, caring words. Words that never came, and the pit was now Otis favorite place:

8th floor? Go by yourself, I’m fed up of carrying everybody’s globes on my shoulders. If it was only the body weight, I could handle it with no problem. Heck, I even carry the fat piglet boy around. But he’s young, he doesn’t carry the pains yet. The choice. The not being able to choose. Because I’m always carrying the unhappiness, the work cursing, the marriage hating, the neighbor envying…  And that’s far heavier than any group of people exceeding the weight limit sign. It’s four people or 250 kg, by the way, you didn’t ask, but I say it anyway. And although I bounce their emotional weight around, giving them some breath on the way down when I go faster and leave the weight  floating amidst, still nobody asks for my knee.

And right he was. Even worse, there were drunks vomiting, people farting, couples fornicating and dogs pissing. The average guy’s office hazards, between the rusty doors.

But everything changed that day. A little girl came and asked Otis to take her up.

I can’t, little girl.

Why? – she asked – I’m like the fatso kid, still no burdens to bear, with the extra bonus of being thin. I’ll probably be anorexic some day, but today it will be  just a small lift. Why?

It’s my knee – he showed her.

Out of nowhere, the little girl shed a tear. A single tear, light in weight, light in light. The tear touched the rusty accordion doors and, screw the laws of chemistry, they didn’t oxidize.  Next stop, 8th floor!


Gonçalo Fortes


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