The Thirteenth Floor

We got on the elevator at the ground floor; a little man with greasy hair, horn rimmed glasses, pants pulled up just under his rib cage, and the belt dangling a foot beyond the buckle.

I punched floor twenty-two. He looked at me over the top of his glasses and did the same.

He moved next to me and said, “Do you know why there is no thirteenth floor.”

I looked at the numbers and sure enough, no thirteenth floor. “I never noticed that before.”

He cocked his head around in front of mine. “Don’t you want to know why?”

“Not really,” I said. “There’s little I can do about it at this point.”

He looked straight ahead as if looking beyond the doors. “It’s considered bad luck to have an elevator with a thirteenth floor.”

“That seems peculiar,” I said. “There really is a thirteenth floor.”

“No, look again,” he said pointing at the twelve and fourteen. “No thirteen.”

“So the fourteenth floor is actually the thirteenth?” I said.

“Now you did it,” he said.

“Did what?” I said.

“The elevator now knows the fourteenth floor is really the thirteenth,” he said.

“How can I be blamed when you’re the one who brought it up?” I countered.

“Brought up what?” he said as if it was the first time we spoke.

“The thirteenth floor!” I said

“You just can’t leave it alone can you?” he said.

We got to the twenty-second floor and exited the elevator.

“That was a smooth ride wasn’t it,” he said. “I noticed just a little jerk between eight and nine.”

“You seem to know a lot about elevators,” I said.

“I should,” he said. “I’m the inspector.”


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