So, faithful serial readers. I’ve decided to put Jake and Ann on hiatus. I didn’t like them as much as I wanted and if I don’t why would you!? So I’m going to hold off on that. TSCS and Otis will continue for now. I’m a bit late, but here’s Otis part three. Let me know what you think. (I’ll get back to TSCS soon and then try to get back on schedule)
The Elevator reached the ground floor and Otis locked the doors open. He saw that a young man, early twenties possibly, was standing outside the secure doors, hands in the pockets of his large low loose jeans, head up. eyes looking straight at Otis, challenging, defying, angry. It was before 8:30 and so, of course the building was locked. Otis would have to let him in, but it was best to be sure first. Otis pushed the button on his intercom to connect him to the tenth floor (the never-before-used intercom!), pausing momentarily to decide how best to address this strange pleasant man who had neglected to give Otis any kind of name, and then speaking “I hope everything is satisfactory sir”
There was a pause and then a fumbling sound as tenth-floor man figured out how to use the intercom, “-tis, everything is perf–” Otis sighed. This one would need some intercom instruction, always a delicate task. For now, he plunged ahead. “Sir, I just want to confirm exactly who I’m letting in this morning.”
“–ight, If he looks like he is ready for a formal ball, or like you’d meet him in church Sunday Morning, then that is probably not my client. (Otis could hear tenth-floor man smiling). Truth is though, I don’t know what he’ll look like today. But he will be there already, so unless there’s a crowd it shouldn’t be too hard to determine. If there’s more than one I’m happy to see them both…If there is a crowd, send them all up, we’ll have a party.”
Otis shook his head, but said, “Yes sir. Right away.”
Otis walked towards the front doors, but he didn’t like this. What kind of person didn’t know his own clients, or, apparently didn’t even care if they were his clients! Still, there was only this one outside the doors, so it must be the right one.
Otis opened the door and welcomed the angry young man with warmth. “Hello sir, are you here to see”–(Drat! He still didn’t have a name! How did this happen)
He tried again, “I’m Otis, How may I help you sir?”
“Tenth Floor” muttered angry-young-man not giving his name.
Otis opened the door wide welcoming the man in as warmly as he did anyone who walked through the doors at Brown and McCormick. He stood in the ready-to-help-with-a-hand-or-a-hand-shake-or-directions stance which Otis had perfected, but the youth simply shuffled past him, so Otis began to walk towards the elevator, indicating the direction as he did.
The man who knew everyone’s name pondered what a strange day it was as he took nameless “angry-young man” up to nameless “tenth-floor man.
“I hope everything meets your satisfaction today on the tenth floor, sir.” Angry young man ignored him.
When the doors opened, tenth floor man was there to greet angry young man warmly. As the two of them moved off towards the offices (?), down the hall, he turned back to Otis with a smile and spoke, “Otis, my friend, I will be expecting many unusual clients today. Each of them will ask for the Tenth floor, just bring them up as they come and take the previous one back down at the same time.”
He turned back to walk off and then remembering turned back towards Otis again, “Oh, I almost forgot. Mrs. Jenkins will be coming in 10 minutes. If you are busy with another client, she will wait, might even be good for her, but when you do pick her up, if you could give her this, it would be splendid. Imperative actually. Thanks so much.”
Tenth-floor man tossed a ring box to Otis. He caught it deftly as the doors closed.
As the elevator descended Otis smiled. Tenth floor man left Otis with the feeling that the more interaction he had with him, the less he knew. The man who knew everything about the world of Brown and McCormick was enjoying the puzzle.
Ten Minutes (and two standard trips) later, Otis was greeting Ms. Jenkins at the front door. It was nice to have a name to use.
“Mrs. Jenkins, I’m Otis. You are expected on the tenth floor.”
Mrs. Jenkins, in her starched dress suit and starched personality was not actually cold. She smiled in a pleasant but controlled manner and even shook Otis’ hand. She spoke in crisp clipped tones, but used his name when she thanked him. They walked together to the elevators. Her steps were measured, every stride equal to the previous one.
As they entered the elevator,Otis reached into his pocket and brought out the ring box. What was it, he wondered? A strange proposal (that would not be a first), a gift, a purchased item? With any luck he was about to find out.
Entering the elevator and pressing the button for tenth floor: “I was asked to give you this.”
She looked surprised, (Light number two lit up as they passed by that floor.)
“Who asked you to give this to me?”
Drat! and he’d been doing so well, too, “The man you’ve come to see.” Awkward, but what could he do?
This seemed all the answer she needed. Nodding she took the box as the elevator passed floor four.
Otis watched without watching. She held the box, looking at it wonderingly, hesitating to open it.
She turned the box over, looking at both sides. Her perfectly manicured fingernails tapped the small box thoughtfully.
Did she know what it was? A thought seemed to come to her and her hands trembled slightly.
Why didn’t she just open it?
She opened the box.
Inside the ring box, was not a ring, not even another piece of jewelry, but something so out-of-place that Otis (who was trying to look without looking), could not immediately place it. It was a hard silver tube of some kind.
Recognition reached both Otis and Mrs. Jenkins at the same time. For him it came with no particular emotion. It was a lipstick cap, just the top, not the lipstick itself. For her, recognition came as a shock. Her eyes widened in terror at this innocuous item, her breath caught quickly and then…
Floor ten arrived with a chime. The doors opened. Mrs. Jenkins stopped screaming and fell forward. Otis reached for her, but it was tenth Floor man who caught her as she fainted literally into his waiting arms. He looked embarrassed and slightly distressed. “I’m sorry Otis. Thank you for doing as I asked.”
Otis bent down to retrieve the jewelry box and lipstick case which had fallen from her hands. Tenth Floor man’s hands were of course full (with Mrs. Jenkins), “Just keep it Otis. I’ll collect it from you later.”
Otis understood in his intuitive way that it was time to go and let the doors begin to shut.
“Oh, hold on Otis. One for the return trip.”
Otis looked up in surprise as “angry-young-man” entered the elevator. It had only been 10 minutes since he had dropped him off.
Tenth floor man did not move as the elevator doors shut.
Otis’ head was swimming. What had just happened here? One thing was sure, Tenth Floor man had been embarrassed, but not surprised.
Otis, on the other hand felt perpetually surprised today, and as he glanced at angry-young-man, he was surprised again.
Angry-young-man, was quietly, intensely, weeping.