Elevation – new prose by Alex Weinle


From the upstairs library, through laboratories, down the grand stairs, back along corridors, through the cafeteria and out the front security entrance takes nine minutes to walk, 863 paces. Via the lift marked ‘do not use’ it takes only two and a half minutes, 205 steps and a nod to the guard at the side exit.
And so it was that every day the growingly rotund Paul rounded the library corner and called his secret shortcut with only the exercise of a single digit.
The three storey descent was never disturbed; serene and thoroughly efficient: until the abysmal 4th February 1991.
Only descending a single floor the lift stopped and a jumpered, jolly student rolled in a dolly covered with a white sheet. As the lift continued down, the student looked at Paul, grinned and pulled back the sheet to reveal a half-dissected cadaver.
To this day Paul will not ride in a lift and his weight is controlled by plenty of long walks.

• When not doing deeply technical stuff with computers, Alex is taking a creative writing course at the UEA.

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