The Elevator Ride
She was so pretty and professional. Her business suit had a sexy flair; it was the color of nutmeg. The jacket didn’t require a blouse and her bosom resembled an alabaster plain with a teardrop diamond receiving all the attention. She had been a sheltered girl born and raised in the Midwest who possessed Midwest traditional values and followed most of society’s rules. She had a great life, and she had a one-track mind. She hadn’t entered the world of the unknown and had no particular concern about it.
Life was beautiful, she thought, as she rode the elevator with much confidence to the fiftieth floor of the Marble Tower Building. She was on her way to interview with the city’s top advertising agency, REAL-LEA Advertising. This massive company was built by Lea Jansen, the shrewd business woman who is well respected in this no holds barred business.
The interview entails a creative ad campaign, and this woman had concocted a presentation that was going to set her for life—a grand and dream career in the world of advertising. It would place her on top.
The elevator came to an abrupt stop on the seventh floor. A courier walked in with a small box and a large envelope in his hands. His dreadlocks bellowed down on his shoulders. He looked weary, but he was still polite.
“Good morning,” he spoke casually to the well dressed female.
“Hi,” she said nervously as she clutched her purse.
The door closed.
They both could feel the big electrical box as it ascended to the other floors. Suddenly the box jolted and then it stopped. No lights appeared on the facing of the elevator keys. The only light that shined was a small emergency light.
Naturally the young man asked, “My God, what happened?”
“I am not in the mood for this. No! N-Not today! Damn it, go!!” the lady stammered under her breath just loud enough for the man to barely hear her.
The light from the emergency light was very faint, and it illuminated the two humans as silhouettes. The pretty lady was very nervous; the rugged man shared her sentiments. There was silence so thick, it could be cut with a knife.
The woman reached in her purse sneakily to get her cellular phone. The man was watching her very closely.
Nervously the man said, “Ma’am, I am not going to do any harm to you.” He felt he owed her that because he secretly thought she was about to pull out some pepper spray and aim straight to his face.
“I’m getting my phone to call for help. You know, to help us both out of here.” She assured him, but she was lying through her teeth.
When she turned on the phone, there was loud crackling static. She could barely hear the dial tone. She proceeded to dial the number.
“Hello! Hello, please help me. I’m stuck in the elevator in the Marble Tower with a black man. I am alone with him! I’m terrified! Hello? Hello? Hello? Is there anybody there? Please help me! Hello?” She was irate. The phone, however, went dead.
“Why in the hell did you tell that bald-faced lie? I assure you, lady, you are in no danger. Besides, you are not my type.” The man shouted fiercely. He was almost in a rage.
The white lady was ashamed of herself and began to cry. She cried a long irritating fifteen counting minutes. The man couldn’t take any more of the sobs.
“Hey, lady, it’s going to be all right,” he said in the kindest voice he could muster. Then he continued, “Calm down, please.” He reached in his top pocket and brought out a purse-size package of Kleenex tissue. “Here, these are brand new. They are not tainted with me or my blackness. Straight from the store on the first floor. You get it pop it open,” he told her as he carefully handed her the plastic bag, for he dared to touch her.
“Thank you,” she said reluctantly.
There was that heavy silence again.
“What do you do for a living?” someone finally struck up a conversation.
“I’m in advertising,” the lady responded.
“Oh really,” he said not really surprised. “I take it you are on your way to REAL-LEA? The most bogus of all advertising agencies.
“As a matter of fact I am. I have, rather had, an interview with them an hour ago. And your last comment is your opinion. Lea Jansen is one of the richest and most successful persons in the business. So you don’t know what you’re talking about.
“Maybe not from your point of view, but I don’t appreciate her company exploiting black people with old deadbeat and antiquated stereotypes. All brothers don’t indulge in cheap malt liquor and sit shiftless on the corners. That is so demeaning. Lady, it is two thousand. Black people or no other nationality exploits poor white trailer trash.”
“What do you do for a living, may I ask?” The woman totally ignored his remarks.
“Why? Do you think I’m a gang banger, dope dealer and/or user, rapist, better yet, maybe I identify to you as, huh, maybe a rapper?”
“Well, yeah, look at how you’re dressed. Your hair. Eeew!”
“For your information, I’m a student. A law student.”
“Really?” She said dryly because she didn’t care, because she didn’t believe him.
“I’m a third-year law student, but in my spare time, to get extra cash, I run errands for my uncle’s law firm. You know the correct term; I’m a courier.”
“That’s good,” she said sarcastically.
“I know you don’t care what I do, but you know what?”
“What?” She questioned as she rolled her eyes back in her head.
“I care what you do. I care because you lie. You lie because you don’t know any better. And it’s people like you who make this country the way it is, thriving on stereotypes. You help keep it polarized. Don’t you know that people come this country everyday for a better life? A life of freedom; a life of choices. But it’s people like you who perpetuate the lie of my people and other nationalities. How can you sleep at night?”
“I really don’t think about it because it doesn’t affect me directly.”
“Oh, but it does. Look how you’ve treated me! You’re scared, lying, crying, and going by hearsay. Where do you get your information from? Advertisements? Please give me a break?”
“The television, newspapers, magazines, and the news are great sources of information. Come on, you’re a law student. Lawsuits are at an all-time high with liability suits. They can’t express untruths. You give me a break.”
“That’s being shallow—hearsay shit. Look at me; I’m a dreadlocks bombard, just as American as you. I don’t wear fancy clothes at all times. I prefer to be comfortable and wear what I feel or want. My skin is as dark as night, but I’ve done no harm to you. The thought never came to my mind. I walked on the elevator just as you did; the only difference was I was polite and spoke. That’s common courtesy. Some people try to show the world that it could be a better place. You’re so caught up showing off designer clothes and stereotyping others. You probably look in the mirror every morning, shit, fifty times a day, and you think you see yourself. Well, let me tell you something, Ms. Anne. You only see what you want to see, and your very being is a facade. You are only real as you choose to be; I see right through you. You are country and came from nothing, eating soup and crackers every night because that’s all you can afford. I would not take that piece of glass off your neck. I know jewelry, and that is costume. You are desperate and you are willing, so you are up for sale, but be careful because your price is low but it’s a high price for you to repay in due time. Yeah, in due time.”
The elevator’s lights begin to blink, off and on. Then they remained on. The door opened and allowed the two people to walk out, and the world was turning and going on as if nothing had ever happened.