Otis never looked surprised unless he wanted to, but inside his mind was racing with questions, ideas, imaginings: The Tenth Floor! With some of his other rides, Otis would have just asked, but this was a new client (as Otis thought of them) and new clients had to be treated gently. The tenth floor man looked pleasant enough, but you never could really tell.
Otis checked his watch quickly. It was 6:00 on the dot.
“Sir, I beg your pardon, but is it ok if Mrs. Crankle joins us for the first 6 floors? She will be off before we reach…your floor.”
The man looked around him in surprise, “Mrs. Crankle.”
“Right there sir,” said Otis as she walked in through the security door. 6:01 always.
The man looked appraisingly at Otis, and smiled. “Of course. I would love the honor of riding 6 floors with Mrs. Crankle.” He was about to step forward to greet Mrs. Crankle, but her fierce expression, and Otis’ gentle hand on his arm, both restrained him.
Mrs. Crankle frowned at the man and looked to Otis for explanation. She never shared her elevator. She didn’t like her rhythm upset by anything.
“Mrs. Crankle. We have a new arrival this morning. He only just got here himself.” Otis paused slightly, “He’s going to the tenth floor.”
“The tenth floor?” She looked right at the man. “Why would anyone need to go to the tenth floor? I never go past the sixth myself.”
Otis smiled and the man chuckled.
“Well I will try to limit myself to the tenth. I certainly don’t want to be excessive.”
“Indeed,” said Mrs Crankle without a hint of mirth.
Tenth-floor man and Otis shared a look of amusement. Otis decided he liked tenth-floor man.
“I’m Otis” said Otis, “I will be here to greet you each morning you come, elevating you to your post, and to speed you home after a weary day. I spend all day right here at your disposal and for the benefit of all other 200 residents, and various visitors who pass through. I see this elevator as my office, so if you need anything just visit my office or use the intercom”, he pointed to the speaker above their heads, “I’m happy to run the occasional errand, as long as I’m not to long from my post and I will do everything I can to make your day here everything you want it to be. If you have any special clientelle or any special instructions for your clientelle, just let me know and I’ll do my best to please.”
The man looked pleased, “Well Otis. That’s splendid. You’re splendid. Thank you. And you Mrs. Crankle, What do you do here?”
Otis shook his head slightly and Mrs. Crankle bristled.
“I get off here, is what I do. Good day.” She said it without any sort of “good” wishes apparent in it and stepped briskly off the elevator.
“Good day to you also Mrs. Crankle,” said tenth-floor man without any irony.
As the doors closed, the man glanced down at the floor outside the doors and then looked up startled at Otis.
Otis nodded, “Yes sir, every floor has a different design which alligns perfectly with the carpet in this elevator, but each one different. Floor 6 is a checker board pattern with the elevator carpet completing the board. AS one steps in here from the 6th floor it is as if they are ‘“kinged”” The seventh floor lines up with the elevator much like a pin stripe suit, at least that’s how it looks to me. Every floor uniquely designed to mesh with the elevator.”
“And the tenth floor? What’s the floor there look like?”
Otis blinked again, “I’ve never seen. You don’t know sir?”
“Oh no. I’m not much for such details. I can see you are though. You really enjoy your job don’t you?”
“Well sir, I do, and that’s a fact. Here we are sir. Don’t forget to call if you need anything.”
The doors opened and both men looked towards the floor expectantly. No carpet at all. Not tile. Just unfinished floor. Just plain unvarnished wood. Otis looked embarassed. How could this happen?
“Really sir, there must be some mistake. I’m so sorry.”
Tenth-floor man shook his head, beaming “No Otis. It’s perfect. Simply perfect.
With that he turned and grasped Otis hand with two hands, in a warm handshake. He looked excited, happy.
“Today, my friend, is going to be a splendid day.”
The doors shut but Otis stood inside the unmoving room pondering his strange visitor from the tenth floor. A man whose name he didn’t even know who thought that unvarnished floors were perfect.
As he stood there the doors opened again, tenth floor man stood there smiling, “you better get going Otis. My first visitor will be here any second, and I’m afraid you’ll have to let him in”
Otis nodded, looking apologetic, and pushed the button taking him back down to the ground floor. It was only a few minutes after 6. Apparently tenth floor activities started early.