Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene.
Non-fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with a person from your past. Write this scene.
This is a mixture. A person from my past who spoke fluent Russian as well as a few other languages. A one time boss of mine, but a very interesting person. I always always sure there was something in the background. And yes, he did visit Russia with a group of business men.
And the lift stopped. I had to hold on to the bar to steady myself. A power cut, no lights: but wait a minute, they are still glowing, but really glowing, not bright and steady, but sort of hazy.
“Well, that was a bumpy journey, but I have arrived. At last we met again.”
I looked in the direction of the voice and there he stood, Mr Moore, my one time boss when I worked for the maritime section of the government. I thought he must have died many years ago. It must be fifty years since I last saw him.
“Mr. Moore, is it really you, and what are you doing in this lift?”
“Ah, this is a lift. I really wanted a transfer to one of those new-fangled spaceships, just to see what the world looked like from above, but you cannot have everything in death I suppose.”
“I am confused. You are here, but speak as if you were not here.”
“No problem, now and again we get a wish granted to break up the boredom. The boss likes to keep us happy.”
“Who is the boss?”
“That depends on which group you belong to. It belongs to the secret part of the unknown, and not something you really should or want to know. Anyhow, now I am here let’s have a catching up conversation. You already know where I am, but how is life treating you; still in the department of maritime affairs.”
“Oh no, Mr. Moore, I left that many years ago. Started a family and moved over to another country, Switzerland.”
“Now that’s interesting, although not my thing. The boys in the external affairs department dealt with Switzerland. You know, no coast, no sea and so no maritime. My thing was more secret happenings on the high seas. Those countries behind the iron curtain, as we then called it, were getting up to strange business. Most of the time the crews were completely drunk, a wonder they ever found their destination.”
“Yes, now I remember. You were an expert on the Russian language and there was a trip arranged to Moscow.”
“That seems like yesterday to me. There were eight of us on a special mission, had a few contacts in the Russian ministry that were quite happy to tell us a few secrets. I remember one of us never came back. They caught him and he spent a few years in the Lubyanka charged with spionage.”
“Oh yes, they was a big story in the newspapers at the time. We were all so sure he was innocent. They finally released him ten years later and he made quite a fortune with his book “I was a british spy”, they even filmed his story.”
“Yes that was Mortimer. He was quite an adventurer, but very careless. Someone like me was never really noticed: just plain and simple, so I got away with murder – figuratively speaking of course.”
I suppose that was Mr. Moore. He was married with four children, took the daily train to work from his little English village and always seem to be dressed in the same suit, which was quite shiny in certain places. I remembered him well. He was a strange person, always wore horn rimmed glasses, and had thinning hair. He was no superman but I always had a feeling that there was something lurking in the background.
I remembered when the memorable trip to Russia was planned upon invitation of the Russian government. It was in the 1960’s and when the Russians decided to warm up a bit towards the West, although no-one really believed it. All the members of the group had to visit a special shop in the West End to hire their fur lined coats. It was winter in Russia and English businessmen were not prepared for the cold weather.
“Yes, that was quite an adventure. It was a shame we had to return the coats after the journey.”
“I was thinking for myself, and not speaking Mr. Moore.”
“No problem Miss errmmmm, sorry cannot remember your name. There were so many of those tipsters in the department, sworn to secrecy of course. As I was saying, we can all do telepathy where I am. The boss likes it that way.
I have to go now, how lovely to see a face from the old days, although I see quite a few here. The boss now has my spaceship ready for the journey. He thought it would be a good idea to have a talk to someone from the old days.
“Perhaps we might meet again, otherwise see you in a few decades. Will put a good word in for you with the boss.”
And with those final words, Mr. Moore sort of wobbled into thin air. I was not so happy about his last words, they gave me a strange feeling, although I suppose we all meet some kind of boss one day.
The power is on in the lift again, so I will go on my way; funny who you meet these days in a lift.