The Lift Affair - A Flash Fiction Tale
Last minute shopping
‘Silent Night’ hummed throughout the Beehive Chain store, enticing its customers to be generous on this last Christmas of the millennium. Quincy was waiting in a queue to pay for the toys her sister Ingrid had suggested for Helen and her two children. She would spend Christmas Eve, which was tonight, with Ingrid, her husband Toonand the family members from France, Helen and Peter with their two small children. They would spend it at the Prinsegracht hotel; Toon had booked the private dining room for the festive occasion.
“Oh no! My purse is gone!” A woman in the queue with three small children around her, clutching her skirt suddenly called out in absolute horror. She was taken into the store’s office.
Quincy was waiting for her parcels to be gift-wrapped, when she heard a familiar voice. “Please could your staff gift-wrap the toys on this list and send them to my hotel,” a tall gentleman whom she recognized asked, with a familiar charm that infuriated her. The sales lady annoyed her even more when she jumped to his request. She decided to give Fred the cold shoulder by ignoring him when he winked at her.
She was no easy picking
Quincy was stepping into the last lift before the store closed when the distraught woman and her three children joined her. The little girl’s tears were running down her cheeks. Quincy’s heart went out to all three toddlers. She could feel the anguish of the mother trying to comfort them.
“I heard that you’d lost your purse,” she said to the mother, when the lift doors closed.
“Yes, it must have been stolen during the day, because my credit card is now overdrawn,” the woman said with great despondency. Then the lift door opened again and Fred stepped in.
“Well! We do seem to bump into each other, don’t we,” he said grinning. His entirely self-assured manner was such a contrast to the atmosphere in the lift. Quincy had difficulty trying to hide her real feelings for him so she pretended to be aloof.
The lift moved again, and suddenly the lights dimmed, a noise of electric fusion came from the top, and the lift suddenly stopped. They were between floors. Fred pressed the buttons but nothing happened. The little girl started to cry louder. Quincy put her parcels down, picked the girl up and whispered softly to her, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. What is your name?
“Penny! Daddy is in the hospital, he broke his leg” she said in a sniffling voice. Her mother hit the doors to try to attract attention.
Have you ever written a short story as a Christmas present?
Connection to the outside world
The next thing she heard was Fred talking to her brother-in-law, Ingrid’s husband on his cell phone. “Toon! Fred speaking, listen, both Quincy and I are stuck in a lift between the sixth and seventh floor of the Beehive store. Can you write this down? With us are... what is your name?” Fred asked the woman. “Marijke Hattum,” she said
“Toon, you heard! Good! She has three children with her, a baby girl and a very pretty young lady called Penny and.,” Fred looked at the little boy, and he bent down placing the cell phone to his ear. “Tell Toon your name,” he said kindly. “Peter!” the small voice whispered.
“Toon, can you find out what the problem is and phone me back?” Fred asked.
They could hear noises but the lift did not move. Thank goodness the lift was carpeted. Quincy sat down with the children on either side of her. “Come, join me, they will soon get us out.”She comforted the stricken mother.
Fred’s cell phone rang again. Quincy was observing and listening, knowing very well in her heart that she was very attracted to him but also that he was far too sure of himself.
“How long will that take, and what about the trapdoor?” Fred asked Toon, who must have found out something. Fred finished the conversation, sat down next to her looking at the distraught mother.
“An electric circuit fused, above the lift, we are quite safe but it will take a few hours before we can be rescued. We will wait and make the best of it. They will keep us informed. Who would you like to phone?” He asked Marijke, handing the phone to her while taking the boy on his lap.
He looked deeply into Quincy’s eyes. She felt herself blushing and focused on the little girl who was admiring the ribbons on her parcels. “How long could we be stuck here?” she asked.
He smiled, leaning towards her. “At least this Christmas Eve! Maybe the whole night.” he whispered close to her ear which made her tremble.
Fred dialed a number while grinning. “Hello Toon! Me speaking again, he said and laughed while listening to Toon’s reply. She grabbed the phone from him. “Toon, can I speak to my sister?” she begged.
“Quincy! You two are at last together,” Toon exclaimed. She now felt manipulated. What he was insinuating was preposterous, and Fred was encouraging it! Her sister came on the line.
“Ingrid, we are really stuck here; it’s a pure coincidence that Fred is in the same lift. I’m sorry about this evening.”
“Quincy, you know I don’t believe in a coincidence. He has been asking about you so we invited you both, did I not tell you?”
“No, you did not ... She suddenly looked at the two children that were listening. Then her eyes were drawn to the presents in the corner. She had a sudden thought!
Making a lemon into lemonade
“Ingrid, did you give Fred the same toy list for Helen’s children you gave me?” she asked softly, holding her hand over her mouth
“List ideas for presents? Yes. Why?”
“Ingrid! Hold on,” They had all heard a noise above them so the children and their mother were distracted.
“Fred, that list you gave to your very eager saleswoman, was it for toys for Helen’s children that you asked to be wrapped, and delivered to your hotel?” she whispered into his ear. He looked silently into her eyes for a moment. “Is that why I got the cold shoulder, the sales woman was too eager?” he teased amusingly.
She knew that it was. Fred was a part owner, so the staff all drooled over him. She ignored his question, and looked at the children and the parcels in the corner. Her eyes sparkled, thinking of her parcels and her plan.
Fred responded as if reading her mind. He smiled back, encircling her with his arm and put his mouth near her ear. “You want Toon to play Father Christmas with your parcels?” he said softly while his mouth for a moment brushed her neck. She was still on the cell phone with her sister.
“Ingrid, tell Toon to phone us back.” She said to her sister while she heard Fred asking the children, “What did you both want from Father Christmas?” Marijke looked sad. Quincy realized that she had not bought any presents for them because of her lost credit card!
Fred’s cell phone rang again. He spoke softly into the phone about their plan and then said loudly, “Yes, Father Christmas they are all here in the lift, you want to speak to Quincy first? Fred pretended to be listening when he added, “Oh I see, and then to Peter and Penny? All right”
The children were silently staring, and listening when Fred handed his cell phone back to her.
Telepathy runs in the family
“Quincy, you hand the parcels out while I do my act,” Toon said laughing on the other end of the line. The children looked up at Fred and her with great big eyes. They believed the Father Christmas act!
“Yes sir, you can indeed. I shall do my job with pleasure.” She replied behaving so seriously that even their mother was getting curious.
“Peter, someone wants to speak to you,” Quincy said handing him the phone. The little boy’s face brightened up while he was listening to Toon playing Father Christmas.
Christmas Eve in the lift
Quincy handed out the appropriate gifts. Helen’s three children were about the same age and sex. Could that have been a coincidence? What she had bought for Ingrid’s new baby Marijke would love for her baby girl.
The atmosphere in the lift changed into the spirit of Christmas. Quincy suddenly realized that all the while she had not objected to Fred holding her. Then she heard him whispering, “Are you going to be my present?”
Marijke looked at them both and formed with her mouth a ‘Thank You’ sign. Suddenly the lift moved, and began going down. Fred held on to her hand when the lift opened and many people were there to greet them.
A camera clicked. The newspaper would print their adventure in the lift, as their Christmas story.
- The Lift Affair – a short Christmas story
I found this short story in my archives. It’s a bit late for Christmas 2013 that has just passed, but then this story will never date.