This morning I, as is my wont, chose to take the lift down from the 5th floor to leave the building. As I got in and instinctively reached for the G button, my nose was assailed by a most vile stench. Alas, my instinct had resulted in button pressing and before I could escape the door was closing.
OK, I thought – its only a few moments of being wrapped in the gaseous embrace of this malodorous miasma until I can escape to what Londoners try to pretend is called fresh air.
But horrors, as the lift descended though the shaft to the Elysian lands which whispered of an escape, it slowed to allow a fellow traveler embark.
What would the visitor think as they also embarked on the downward journey and started to retch on the stench within? Will I, an innocent bystander in this hell be held accountable for the smell? Shall I forever more be branded the destroyer of worlds, the bringer of stenches?
To spend the rest of my life locked in a Victorian funfair as the Marvelous Sewer Man, brought all the way from hottest North Africa as an ephemeral entertainment for high society?
The doors opened, I stood as far back and tried to look as innocent as is possible when your stomach is twisting in agonies. The women took a step forward – and then beckoned that I should continue the journey alone.
Two more floors I descended and finally, escaped the hell within.
In our modern hectic lives, I rarely meet the other occupants of the block of flats I live in, but today I was visited upon by this remnant of a previous occupant of the lift – and for once and glad that their visits are quite rare.
*The first UK lifts, installed in The Midland Grand Hotel were called Accending Rooms.