The 100th Story

John Hancock Center's Tilt

Feeling nervous, Jonathan Rook, a sizeable cog in finance, took the elevator to the 100th floor. Vernon Cumberbatch, the president, was interviewing for VP. The only other candidate was Grant Abrahams, head of insurance. Exiting the lift, Rook’s stomach lurched.
Grant appeared. “Hello Jonathan, ready?”
“Hello, no, I need the bathroom.”
“There’s one right here. It’s just been renovated.” Grant gestured to a door, labelled ‘Danger, Keep Out.’
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’ll tell the old man you’re on your way.”
“OK, thanks.”
Jonathan entered an empty room, freshly plastered. Ahead, windows gazed down onto a sea of skyscrapers. In a wall to the right was a brown wooden door with a panic bar. ‘Odd,’ he thought, but with the need now urgent, he depressed it. “Jesus Christ!” There was nothing beyond. He fell forward, holding onto the bar as the door swung out. His legs kicked helplessly above the impossible drop whilst a freezing wind stung his clenching fingers.
Someone appeared in the doorway.
“Where’s Rook got to?” said Cumberbatch.
Grant fidgeted. “I’m not sure sir.”
“I’ll give him five minutes.”
“Of course sir.” Grant noticed something on his shoe. Taking a tissue, he wiped it off. Damned plaster.

Featured in the book and audiobook, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories

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