Alice Harper stood on the fourteenth floor of the Wilkins Building in downtown Vancouver. She was feeling smug with herself, having just negotiated a pay rise of 5% with the big bosses. She was employed to oversee a large commercial development project (a big shopping centre) worth several million. Alice loved her job, the money, the status, the resentful males working below her and above all the power she had over her staff. She had been in the job for over ten years, joining the company straight from school and gradually working and networking her way up. It had all come so naturally for her and that in itself increased her feeling of superiority, as though she were chosen. She had no time for an emotional life, with one failed marraige behind her which had hardly made it out of the starting blocks she was not looking for another. Her mother had always claimed men were evil and she was beginning to see what she had meant, all her attempts at dating had been disastrous, a string of lust filled morons who assumed she was less intelligent than them. How did they think she had gotten where she was today? It was harder for a woman in the corporate race and she had done it by being clever. The lift arrived with a bing noise and the doors slid open to reveal a mirrored box with a wooden handrail containing a badly dressed and tired looking man who watched her enter, shifting his feet nervously all the while. She hit the ground floor and having no intention of allowing the man to continue staring at her bottom (which she could see him doing in the mirror) she stood back against the wall level with him. The doors swung shut and Alice looked fixedly at the floor counter as it slowly decreased, trying desperately to ignore the man.
Paul Hallam was bored, not just bored but sick to death of his tedious existence. He was fast approaching thirty and still felt as though he hadn´t done enough in his life. The problem was all he really wanted to do was sit about with extended intervals for sex, football and beer. Sometimes he fantasised about all three at once but worried that thinking about footballers and sex may make him gay. He held a wide variety of racist and bigoted views the least of which was certainly not his sexism. He considered women to be inferior and pined for the old days that his Grandad had always told him about, when they had dinner ready for you at the end of the day and never refused you sex. He hated his job, he was an office nobody, he sat at his desk compiling paperwork which no-one would ever look at and he did this for hours and days and weeks and months and years. He worried that perhaps now he had been institutionalised and would be unable to cope without the office atmosphere, the water cooler, the motivational posters, the inane conversation. One thing he wouldn´t miss was the paper cuts and he was in the act of examining a particularly large one which ran down the length of his finger when the door to the lift opened. Paul was pleasantly suprised to see an attractive, smartly dressed brunette stepping into the lift, he studied her body and estimated her age to be around 25 (she was in fact 28). As she stepped forward to press the button her bum strained against the material of her skirt and Paul felt a flare of lusty longing. He wondered if she was interested, she had looked at him when she stepped into the lift and he thought he detected a slight smile. His excitement grew when she stepped back closer to him, he caught a whiff of her perfume and felt the usual animal pangs which are no longer useful to humans in alot of situations. Paul stared at her trying to think of a conversation topic, she seemed to be standing closer to him than was necessary and he felt there was good chance she might be interested.
The lift suddenly came to a sharp halt and there was loud whine followed by a banging noise which got louder for a few seconds and then stopped abruptly. The two occupants looked quizically at each other, the woman pressed the help button and stood back, the man watched her with a slight smile on his face.
"Great" thought Alice to herself, "this is all I need, stuck in a lift with some drooling ape". She glanced at the man and found once more that he was staring at her body, she shivered in disgust and stepped forward to strike the help button. "Looks like we´re stuck" she said to break the silence. The man nodded "yep" he replied looking at her questioningly. "What is up with this guy?" she wondered. "Are you cold" he asked with a stupid grin which seemed to imply some hidden meaning, "No" she barked adding "thanks" to soften it slightly. He looked disappointed. Alice realised she had unconciously crossed her arms in front of her defensively and was facing the man as though she felt threatened by him. She immediately turned away to look at the control panel for the lift and prove she was not in the least intimidated, she would have this slob sacked if he tried anything.
Paul couldn't believe his luck when the lift jammed, he felt as though he was in some cheap erotic film and the woman would surely turn to him now and gasp "take me". Instead she reached forward and hit the help button. "Hmm maybe not" he thought to himself watching her every movement, she looked tense. "Looks like we´re stuck" she said turning to face him. He grinned, now that sounded like a porno line, he could think of no adequate reply in his excited state and simply nodded and said "yep". She had shivered a moment ago and Paul wondered if "I´m cold, can you warm me?" might be her next line. He waited but she just looked blankly at him so he asked her. "No" she barked and then added "thanks". He decided he must be fantasising a bit too much, she maybe wasn´t interested at all, she had crossed her arms now over an ample chest and didn´t look terribly horny, scared maybe, a little angry but nothing else.
The two occupants of the lift were pulled from their thoughts by the sound of a man´s voice shouting. It was the "Hygiene Supervisor" telling them to "hold on, it´ll only take about a half hour to fix". They shouted "ok" by way of acknowledgement and the man set to work.
Alice sighed her dissapointment, she did not want to spend another minute in this lift but she wasn´t going to let her companion know it. She sat down against the wall facing the man and asked "So who are you?". "Paul Hallam" he replied "I work on the eighteenth floor". The archive guys she thought, the most boring job imaginable, converting things from computer to hard copy and data entry stuff. She wasn´t suprised he looked so unkempt and tired, he was in long, boring and poorly paid job. She felt a bit of sympathy but it melted instantly when she caught him peering up her skirt, this guy was a pervert. She turned to rest her back on the back wall of the lift instead to spoil his view. "What do you do?" he asked her. "I´m the Commercial Development Co-Ordinator" she said proudly, glad of the chance to establish rank, she had only asked him so that he would ask her and she could then reveal her superiority. He looked shocked "But you're a bit ... young" he stammered. She noted the pause before he completed the statement and wondered if he had meant to say female rather than young. "I´m 28 and I´ve worked hard to get where I am" she said, the rising anger plainly audible in her voice. "I bet you have" he replied, unneccessarily adding a knowing wink. This enraged Alice and she stood up to prepare herself for battle.
"Half an hour eh, plenty time for a bit of fun" thought Paul. He was glad of the chance to be out of the office with a legitmate excuse and saw this situation as preferable to the one that was awaiting him upstairs. He had just popped out to get some more software from the computing department, or at least that was what he said to his boss. He had gotten into the habit of going on fairly frequent breaks and always had a list of excuses prepared but this was good one. The woman had sat down against the wall and Paul couldn´t help noticing her skirt riding up slightly. "So who are you?" she asked. He briefly considered lying but then thought "what the hell" and told her the truth. She looked down at her feet and Paul jumped at the chance to repostion himself a bit so as to get a view up her skirt. Unfortunately for him she noticed and turned around to block his view. "Definitely not interested" he thought. He supposed he was obliged to ask her what her position was now and he figured it might distract some attention from his attempts to identify the dimensions of her underwear. "What do you do?" he enquired. He was shocked to find out her seniority, she must be earning six times what he was on, a woman earning that much more than him. He almost blurted out his concern but managed to highlight her youth instead of her sex. She looked really pissed off now and started moaning about having worked hard. Paul imagined she must have slept her way to the top and more or less said so. She sprang to her feet furiously, turning red, she did not look prettier when she was angry, she looked frightening.
There was another loud banging noise and the lift shakily began its descent once more. If the passengers had noticed they certainly didn't show it, engaged as they were in what could only politely be described as heated discussion.
"You pathetic perverted maggot" she wailed "I hate misogynistic wankers like you". His suprise slowly turned into a smug look of satisfaction as Alice launched into her tirade. "You have been staring at me since I got on this lift as if you were sex-starved, which you probably are from the look of you. What the hell makes you think an attractive, wealthy young woman with a much better job than yours could possibly want from you?" She almost screamed the last part sending speckles of saliva spraying across the lift. He shrugged and looked knowingly at her. "Lesbian are you? One of these man haters eh?" he asked looking unbearably smug and pleased with himself, as if he were mentally storing this witty line away to tell the lads at the pub about later. Alice had had enough, it had been a long time since she had felt this angry. The man in front of her seemed to represent everything that was wrong with the male species. She suddenly noticed that the lift was in motion and she could get out in a minute. She felt strangely disappointed, as though she hadn´t taught this guy a lesson yet, she couldn´t let his snide remarks get the better of her.
Paul was alarmed at first but soon became amused at the surrealness of this woman shouting at him. She was furious, totally unable to control her emotions, "Just like a woman" he thought. He was beginning to suspect she had a problem with all men, "Maybe she was a muff diver" he mused. He knew it would wind her up more if he said so. "Lesbian are you? One of these man-haters eh?" he said smugly, feeling tremendously pleased with himself. He couldn´t wait to tell the lads about this one, of course he'd edit it a little to make it more exciting. He noticed that the lift had jerked to life and felt pleased, his first experience getting stuck in a lift with a woman was not like he had been led to believe by movies and tv, this woman was a banshee and looked dangerous, he was eager to get out.
The lift stopped gently at the ground floor, much to the relief of the fairly large crowd who had gathered in the lobby to wait for it (stairs were not an attractive option in a twenty-five story building). The doors slid open and the crowd gave a collective gasp as they were treated to the spectacle of the Commercial Development Co-Ordinator booting a data entry employee as hard as she possibly could in the testicles. He screamed like a little girl and slumped to the ground in agony as she walked away through the crowd with a spring in her step.