i. In The Elevator
I heard a rumbling. I thought the other guy heard it too, the old man with the shopping bag, wearing a sweater vest and a hat that used to have some kind of special name when he was younger, before my time— fisherman’s cap. No, sandcatcher. Something like that.
It was a special rumbling. It’s always a special sound, when I think I’m going to die. I wanted to ask the old man, can’t you tell that there’s something different about that, that it’s coming from the bowels of the elevator shaft? He’s older than I am and has probably been riding elevators since they were made differently. Maybe rumbling louder than this was what an elevator ride used to sound like; maybe you were taking your life in your hands every time you set foot inside one of these, and they had a cute name for them, death boxes or the devil’s dumbwaiter. I’m just guessing. I would have asked him. It would have been the last thing I ever learned.