(in this gilded cage Gary Clark attempts to elevate his status as a writer…but does Granny know?)
The same author whose only crime to date on this site has been the unsolicited ticking of funny-bones reveals his warm and fuzzy self. New to the site? Check out Gary’s other stuff by putting “granny” in the search box.
This is #9 of the 24 stories I have had to post since Thanksgiving. I am running out of beer and oreos but will show you what I’m made of!
Journal Entry – March 4, 2013
by Gary Clark
You have no idea how close you came to dying last night.
I waited beside the elevator in the Grande Hotel staring at the front door. Unconsciously, I sucked in a deep breath and put my hand over my heart when you walked in. As agreed, you wore a navy blue dress and a white silk scarf tied around your neck. I’d died my hair and wore a fake mustache so you wouldn’t recognize me.
“Holy shit! Why would such beautiful lady resort to Craigslist to find a date?” I whispered aloud.
You paused and scanned the lobby for a man wearing a daisy on the lapel of his tuxedo. Then you found me standing at the elevator. Your eyes penetrated so deeply into my eyes that I was sure you saw the knife cradled between my belt and the small of my back. There was no daisy on my lapel.
“Are you going up,” you said, approaching the elevator.
“Yes,” I said. “Are you alone?”
“I’m meeting someone for dinner,” you said cheerfully.
You looked at my eyes again and smiled at me when I stepped aside and held the door. I followed you and stood behind you as the doors closed. We were alone. I glanced up and made sure the duct tape still covered the camera lens.
You were there because I sent for you. So lonely in your world that you found me in the Missed Connections section of Craigslist where I described our meeting and you, in a blind leap of faith, as the others before you did, eagerly agreed to meet me. You believed that you would be safe because we would meet in a crowded hotel restaurant with fifty or maybe sixty other people there. No one could harm you in that crowd. But you didn’t think about the dark parking lot, or the dimly lit, empty foyer leading to the elevator, or the long ride up in the elevator.
Like all the others before you, you happily, blindly, walked into my trap, thinking you were on your way to the restaurant on the hotel’s observation deck to meet the man who had made eye contact with you as you stood in the rain waving for a taxi.
“Are you going to a party?” you asked, looking at me standing there in my tuxedo and the white gloves I wore as a barrier to leaving fingerprints on the highly polished brass doors and buttons on the elevator.
“I am,” I told you, trying to control my breathing.
We were alone. You smiled and hummed along with the music. Muskrat Love as I remember. You watched the lights above the doors as they slowly counted off the floors on our trip up to the restaurant.
I leaned toward you and inhaled deeply then held that breath, and, like a wine connoisseur at a tasting, I closed my eyes and analyzed the air I’d drawn in from your long blond hair. “Vidal Sassoon,” I whispered.
“I beg your pardon,” you said, turning slowly and smiling up at me.
I shivered and attempted a sincere smile. “Shopping list,” I said. “Just going over it and didn’t know I was talking out loud.”
You patted my chest, “I have to write it all down or I forget,” you said.
I wiped the sweat off my brow and leaned as closely as I dared into the nape of your neck. Your perfume was White Diamonds, not too much, not too little. If your hair weren’t so long you would have felt my hot breath on the nape of your neck.
I looked at the camera again as I slid my hand under my jacket and wrapped it around the leather handle of the knife. It was perfect. We were alone. All I had to do was press the emergency ‘Stop’ button and follow through with my plan. Then I would escape out the emergency hatch on top of the elevator car and climb down the ladder to the door that opened into the mechanical room. From there, it was a short walk out the back door of the hotel.
We were halfway to the restaurant. The voice in my head screamed, “DO IT!” I put the palms of my hands on the sides of my head and pressed as hard as I could, trying to squeeze out the voice like the core of some enormous cyst in my brain. I felt as if my eyes would pop out of their sockets and my teeth would shatter as I gritted them tightly. My ear drums almost burst from the pressure and pain.
Your beautiful voice became a shrill squeal as if a thousand fingernails scraped across a blackboard. Your wavy blond hair turned black and straight, then gray and then white, then fell off your head in clumps, leaving you bald, exposing open, festering wounds that oozed a green, fetid liquid. Your dress slipped from your shoulders and landed on the floor exposing the body of an old woman, ribs protruding through thin, emaciated flesh.
“DO IT,” the voice screamed again. “I swear it’s not too late!”
You turned and looked up at me, opened your toothless mouth and exhaled a malignant stench that made me wretch.
“DO IT,” the voice screamed. “Do it, you chickenshit sonofabitch!”
“Nooooo,” I yelled, covering my face with my eyes. “I can’t.”
Back at the hospital, they strapped me to a stretcher and rolled me through the security doors, back to my room with the quilted walls.
“How the hell did he get out again?” the nurse asked.
“Told me he flew out,” the doctor said. “Maybe he did.”
I’m glad I didn’t hurt you. You were as beautiful as you were trusting. The headlines are full of girls like you. Girls so alone, desperately searching for companionship and love. Girls in search of someone to validate their existence, their beauty, and their sexuality.
See you next time. I love you.
23 thoughts on “Disclaimer: No elevators were hurt in the posting of Gary Clark’s entry”
While this story is so different from every Gary/Granny story I have read so far, it is just as brilliant. My emotions were cold as water dripping from an icicle knife ready to strike. The descriptions of him by her, her innocence of the danger and the threat of a man feeling wronged, so close, so outraged, so plotting and yet so deranged held my every breath. You may be the only man I would put in the finals Gary, but it is obvious to me that you could win this contest overall with the diversity, emotions and brilliant story lines you develop for us the readers. I still believe you had the best story in the last contest and will feel equally outraged if you are not placed in the finals in this one. I think i am going to order Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds today, because I love to live dangerously. Could you hold the elevator for me? I’m feeling peckish. Congratulations on three brilliant stories in this contest Gary. I am a most loyal fan.
Thank you, Parisianne. I always turn a little red-faced when I read your comments on my stories because you are so nice and always find something really good to say about them all. I’ll hold the elevator for you anytime! 🙂
Thank you kind sir. You are a true Texas gent with that certain “Home On the Elevator” quality in this story which would have made Roy Rogers do a double take. Then again, Roy Rogers had Trigger stuffed and put in the front yard of Dale’s and his ranch home on the range. You sir, turned that elevator into a slow motion Psycho, Janet Leigh, shower nightmare. Now what’s for lunch? What would Liz order? Don’t worry about being a little “red-faced” by me, because that is my guilded cage modus operandi when it comes to men and women.
I have already sent in my final’s entree to Thorn with words that once he reads them will turn his face redder than a rooster being chased by the entire hen house across the surface of Mars while the Red Army sings “Hail to the Chief”.
That made me very peekish, but what fun we are having in this contest. By the way gentlemen, my reddish face is blood pressure not embarrassment. Waiter, a menu please. Would you recommend the Red Snapper or the Lobster more?
Your menu, Madam. Might I recommend a sea cucumber with your red snapper?????
No, but Thorn will have one with his borscht, because a good sea cucumber can’t be beet.
Being the danger seeking, fallen woman that i have become, I thought i needed to spray on “White Diamonds” on a sharp blade and reflect on this need for a mood elevator more. Here is what I came up with…What if the roles were reversed and the woman wearing White Diamonds had the knife?
White Diamonds Reversal In An Elevator
Your best yet, Gary, IMHO. Made me think of Stephen King’s “The Man Who Loved Flowers,” –and I’d say your story stands on an equal footing with it.
Thanks, FJD. The idea for this story has been rattling around in my head for a while and suddenly at 2:30 one morning the whole thing came to me. So, like I always do, I climbed out of bed and wrote the story then got back to bed a few hours later. It’s definitely different from what I usually write but I guess sometime we all gotta let the crazy stuff out and let other people/writers know that we are as tormented as they.
Yeah, baby! Written like writers who are so comfortable in their talents, making new tracks in the snow is just as exciting as the golden tombs of yore.
Granny know you done leaped?
Hunny, that boy made the leap the night Charlene Tucker took him behind her daddy’s barn and taught him that thang hangin’ down there was handy for somethin’ more than just haulin’ around like a broke suitcase handle. Little sonofabitch walked around hunchin’ air for a week after that…… He just ain’t right!
Oh, Crap! speaking of the evil that lurks in the dark corners of one’s brain – who the heck let that old lady out??
You kill me, Mr. Clark. Really. Here I was expecting another warm, sunshiney tale and you go grisly on us. Outstanding. It shows your breadth as a writer. Outstanding.
Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you just never know what you’re gonna get when I sit down at the computer. I had a ton of fun writing this one. It’s good to open those dark doors of the brain and poke around for a story there.
Oh my God. I don’t know what scared me more: his well-concealed attempt to murder…or his all-encompassing mental illness. The ending threw me; I certainly didn’t see it coming. The description of the woman at the end is visceral and ugly, but you can’t help but feel glad she survived. And at the end, you don’t feel too badly for or against him either; even though illness, he’s glad he didn’t kill her. That’s tough to get us to sympathize with a murderer and you did it in a few pages. Well done <3
Ahhh, he was just playing cat and mouse with her. And, he will get out again……
Thanks for the good words. I thought a little scary/weird would be fun for a change.
OH MY!You are one of those writers that can write the phonebook and make it come alive. Craigslist is such a resource for so many things. The structure, the timing of suspense that lingers, slowly unravels then jumps down your throat, shook me to my core. Brilliantly done. Clear,exploding descriptions of how death would look. Stark contrast of your description of her lovely beauty and scents. This for me creates volumes of emotions from the serial killer. Hope he doesn’t get out again. Great story!
Well, sorry to say, he did get loose and started some shit with the same lady. Even more bizarre the second time. Maybe the Earl of Thornberry will invent a contest someday that that second story will fit.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Good structure, suspence and building of the narrative main character. The twist at the end was icing on the omelet. . . Totally unexpected.
Thanks, Eli. I think we all have a little madness tucked away in the dark corners of our brain. It’s fun to turn it loose and see what kind of stories it can give us.
Out of the park sizzle!! How you managed to create such suspense & insights into your characters is only a result of your unique gift. I’ll never enter an elevator without thinking of your story!
Thanks, Miryam. I really appreciate the good words. This story was fun to write and I’m glad it worked.
Ok Cowboy – you finally did something I didn’t expect from you…you scared me and that takes some doing! I AM NOT GOING INTO AN ELEVATOR WITH YOU EVER!!!!! But I WILL check your pockets first!!!! I need Granny back!!! Although – now that I’ve settled down a bit – you really pull us in with this story…and your words have a Steven King effect although Mr. King’s characters would not be leaving anyone alive. For the scaring me part – you get 5 stars!!!