A recently fired elevator inspector goes on a safari.

Two weeks ago, I got fired. Now, don’t go and feel sorry for me. It’s my own damn fault I lost my job. Besides, getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me. I spent twenty goddamn years working the same crappy job. Now that I’m unemployed, I’m finally free to do some traveling.

I went home, to Louisiana, for the first time in ten years. My ma gave me this big hug when I walked through the door. She said she was happy to see me. Made me feel bad about being gone for so long.

We didn’t have much when I was growing up. We lived in this tiny shack in this tiny town on the bayou. As a kid, I wanted nothing more than to leave that place. So, when I was seventeen, I hitchhiked to New York and started looking for a job. See, I mistakenly thought that I could just move to the big city and suddenly become a millionaire. Life doesn’t work like that.

I lived in New York for twenty five years and only ever met one millionaire. He was this prick that owned a this big stock brokerage, Golden Clocktower Investing. The man had a penthouse office in this big skyscraper. Wanna know the funny thing? He only got this cushy corporate job in the first place because his dad was the CEO.

Shit like that pisses me off. My parents never gave me anything. Everything I’ve ever had I’ve had to work my ass off for. Hell, my mom actively worked against my success. She’s been begging me for years to move back home. Wanna know how long it took her to ask me to move home this time? Thirty minutes.

I left home not long after that. Decided to leave the country. You know, see the world. The job I had back in New York paid well, but it didn’t leave me with much time to go on vacations. I bought a ticket to some random city whose name I couldn’t pronounce and left the country in the middle of the night.

When I first left Louisiana, I spent five years dicking around trying to find a good job. Somehow, I got a job as an elevator inspector. Don’t ask me how, because I honestly have no idea. It’s not actually that bad, being an elevator inspector. Decent pay, decent job security, union benefits. Hell, I was actually pretty good at it, too. In twenty years, I only ever messed up one inspection. Of course, my boss didn’t care and kicked me to the curb for one mistake.

My flight landed in some city called Chitungwiza. As soon as I walked out of the airport, some asshole on an electric scooter almost ran me over. Guess it’s good to know that, wherever you are, there are people who don’t give a shit about anyone else. You know that prick I was telling you about earlier, the one with the penthouse office? Asshole had his own elevator that he forbade anyone else from using. Can you believe that?

You know, I actually used to own an electric scooter. Rode it to work every day for fifteen years. Piece of junk crapped out on me while I was driving to work one morning. Made me late for my inspection at Golden Clocktower.

Turns out, Chitungwiza is a city in Africa. I spent a few weeks wandering around the city, trying to figure out what to do to occupy my time. Eventually I ran into some American tourists who were there to go on some safari. They were friendly and invited me to go along with them.

See, that’s what normal people do. They saw someone lost in a foreign country and acted nice to them. I can’t imagine that prick with his own elevator doing something like that. Wanna know what he did, when I showed up to inspect the building’s elevators? He yelled it me because I wanted to look at his first. He said that making him use the same elevator as his coworkers was an insult.

The safari truck drove passed some run down shacks on the outskirts of Chitungwiza on its way to the game reserve. These shacks made my childhood home look like a mansion. How is it possible for us to live in a world where some people have so much and others have so little?

Elevator prick lived in this massive brownstone in Manhattan. The thing was a thousand times bigger than my crappy apartment. I know for a fact that, even if I saved every penny I ever earned working as an elevator inspector,  I could never afford a place half as nice as that brownstone.

Imagine my surprise when, a few weeks back, I was invited to that brownstone. I couldn’t believe it when I got the news. The wife of one of New York’s biggest stockbrokers, inviting some elevator inspector she’d never even met over for lunch? I honestly thought that someone was pulling a prank on me.

She was nice, the stockbroker's wife. She offered me this twenty year old bottle of scotch that I respectfully turned down. Then, she got down to business. She offered me a large sum of money to do a simple task for her. Enough to quit my job and travel the world. All I had to do was one little thing.

I saw a lot of great things, on the safari. Elephants, giraffes, even a few zebras. The type of things you could never see in New York or Louisiana. The tourists I was travelling with took a whole bunch of pictures of the animals. I’ve never understood why that’s a thing that people do. Instead of looking at the thing you’re supposed to be looking at, these people would rather spent their time trying to get the perfect shot so they can brag about it to their friends back home.

Guess that’s why they weren’t paying attention to their kid. This little girl, no older that four, ran out of the truck. She ran towards these hippos that were hiding in a nearby watering hole. I guess she saw her favourite animals and wanted to pet them.

The thing about hippos that always surprises people is how dangerous they are. Sure, they don’t have claws or sharp teeth. But they’re still massive wild animals. Maybe if they were covered in spikes, like a cactus, people would realize that they should stay away from them.

You know, whenever some maniac kills a bunch of of people, everyone always acts shocked about the culprits. It’s always the ones you least expect. I should know. Nobody, not even I, ever thought I would kill someone.

After elevator prick yelled at me, I could barely concentrate on my work. That asshole, a man who’d never had to worry about not being able to buy food, or not being able to keep the heat on in the winter, or having his scooter break down on the way to work, had the audacity to yell at me for inconveniencing him. I was so furious I could barely breathe. Then I remembered the deal his wife had offered me.

It was so much money. All I had to do was one little thing. I pulled out my pocket knife and started cutting the ropes of the elevator. Not all the way through, of course. I cut them thin enough that they would snap only after the elevator was a few stories in the air.

I saw a picture of elevator prick in a newspaper, after I got laid off. He barely looked human, after being crushed by a falling elevator. The little girl looked the same way after the hippopotamus was done with her. The screams of her family still haunt me. I bet a lot of people screamed the same way when elevator prick died.

I hope he didn’t suffer, the man I killed. I made sure I was out of the building when the elevator fell. I didn’t want to watch it happen. I didn’t want to watch him die. You know, I didn’t just come to Chitungwiza to get away from the cops. I came here to try and get death off my mind. I guess that didn’t work out.

Don’t go and feel sorry for me. I don’t deserve any sympathy.

Submitted: March 20, 2019

© Copyright 2022 Casey Jarmes. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Facebook Comments

More Flash Fiction Short Stories

Other Content by Casey Jarmes

Book / Fantasy

Short Story / Fantasy